Daily Management Review

Financial Threats Due To Climate Change Is Exaggerated, Claims Senior HSBC Banker


Financial Threats Due To Climate Change Is Exaggerated, Claims Senior HSBC Banker
A senior HSBC banker in charge of sustainable investments claimed in statements that prompted fire from climate campaigners that central bank policymakers and other world authorities are misrepresenting the financial consequences of climate change.
His opinions did not represent those of HSBC as a whole, according to the bank.
"Unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are ALWAYS wrong," HSBC's head of responsible investing Stuart Kirk wrote on a slide accompanying his presentation at a conference in London, alongside quotes from the UN and the Bank of England warning of the dangers.
According to Kirk, such warnings suggest that his team and HSBC as a whole are devoting disproportionately more attention to climate risk than to other issues.
"We've got inflation coming down the pipes and I'm being told to spend time and time again looking at something that's going to happen in 20 or 30 years, the proportionality is completely out of whack," he told the conference hosted by the Financial Times, which posted online a video recording of the event.
Kirk's comments did not represent the company's beliefs, according to Nicolas Moreau, Chief Executive of HSBC Asset Management, who responded to Reuters through a representative.
"HSBC regards climate change as one of the most serious emergencies facing the planet," Moreau said in an email sent via a spokesperson.
According to the corporate website, HSBC Asset Management manages $640 billion in assets.
Kirk did not respond to a LinkedIn request for comment.
Activist groups slammed Kirk's remarks, urging HSBC and other banking institutions to cut their sponsorship of the fossil fuels industry and strengthen their climate pledges.
"This should raise red flags to any clients of HSBC that care about net-zero," Jeanne Martin, campaign manager at responsible investment NGO Share Action, tweeted.
The comments were "regressive and grossly wrong," according to Beau O'Sullivan, senior campaigner for the Bank on Our Future campaign, who said that climate change posed a serious risk to financial assets.