HSBC suspends top climate-skeptical executive

A climate-skeptic HSBC responsible investment officer? a height. And words that no longer pass. according to this financial Times (FT), on Monday, May 23, the bank suspended one of its senior executives after remarks downplaying the impact of climate change.

During a press conference hosted by the daily on Friday 20 May, Stuart Kirk, global director of responsible investing in HSBC’s asset management division, accused central bankers and politicians of exaggerating the effects of climate change and its financial risks. “Climate change is not a financial risk we need to worry about, gushed director. Unfounded, harsh, partisan and self-serving apocalyptic warnings are always wrong,” he wrote in full in his presentation. , Report echo,

Comments rejected by HSBC

“What does it matter that Miami is six meters under water in 100 years? Amsterdam has been under water for centuries, and it’s a very cool place. We’ll adapt,” Stuart said. Kirk, according to footBefore trying to justify myself: “I work at a bank that is attacked by crypto, we have regulators in the USA trying to stop us, we have a problem with China, We’ve got a housing crisis that we’ve got, we’ve got interest rates going up, we’ve driven inflation down, and I’m being told that I don’t want to spend my time watching something happen in twenty or thirty years. I spend in. Totally disproportionate.”

Statements that “are not in line with HSBC’s strategy and do not reflect the management position of HSBC or its asset management arm. Our ambition is to be the leading bank leading the transition to carbon neutrality”, responded Noel this Sunday Quinn, managing director of the group at LinkedIn, at the time of the investigation, prior to the announcement of Stuart Kirk’s suspension on Monday.

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Disappointed NGO

But Stuart Kirk’s words worry the NGO. NGO spokesperson Beau O’Sullivan bank on our future, said in a statement that HSBC should “explain how such offensive and inaccurate comments can be validated, and the extent to which other senior officials share Mr Kirk’s position”. “This is another major blow to HSBC’s reputation on the climate (…) Investors and customers should rightly question and investigate the Bank’s promises (…) and not forget that HSBC is asking the advertising regulator in the UK. Takes risk (punitive) measures for ‘greenwashing'”, he added.

“The fact that this comes from the global director of responsible investing,” said Veronica Oakeshott, spokeswoman for the NGO Global Witness. Condemning “an entire sector that continues to finance deforestation, fossil fuels and climate collapse”, he accused HSBC of being one of the “worst” banks. “We cannot rely on the goodwill of financial institutions to voluntarily do the right thing. We need governments to legislate and stop finance from climate-destroying subsidiaries”, concludes Veronica Oakeshott. The annual general meetings of HSBC, Barclays and Standard Chartered banks have recently been disrupted by pro-environment protesters demanding that they stop investing in fossil fuels.

(with AFP)

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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