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The Jupiter Fixed Income team have engaged with HSBC on a range of topics, from their gender pay gap to carbon emissions. Find out what other points were raised and how HSBC responded in the full engagement study.
HSBC cite their purpose on their website:
“Our purpose – Opening up a world of opportunity – explains why we exist. We’re here to use our unique expertise, capabilities, breadth and perspectives to open up new kinds of opportunity for our customers. We’re bringing together the people, ideas and capital that nurture progress and growth, helping to create a better world – for our customers, our people, our investors, our communities and the planet we all share.”
From the off, we found it striking that HSBC were keen for us to hear from their Global Head of Diversity, Carolanne Minashi, on what a priority diversity and inclusion was for them as a company. To that effect, they are open with the data they publish on this area:
“Our regional diversity data disclosures now extend across six markets, covering 70 per cent of our workforce. We have reported our gender pay gap since 2017 in the UK and have since extended our reporting to include gender and ethnicity for the UK and US, and gender for mainland China, Hong Kong, India and Mexico.”
This data can be sliced and diced across region, division, seniority, ethnicity and gender. We were keen to hear about their pay gap data in regions other than the UK, as so few organisations publish as much data as HSBC do. We noted that the gender pay gap of HSBC Bank Plc is an outlier, as one of the highest in the industry (second only to Goldman Sachs) with 50.4% mean and 51.3% median pay gap, and a 61.2% mean and 72.2% median bonus gap. Disappointingly, they explained that the key drivers were the fact that mostly women are employed in their call centre network, which is a low paid job, and that London is also the base of their global investment banking and capital market business, which is mostly male dominated and attracts high pay. However, we were encouraged by their senior female representation targets (see below) and also their ethnicity targets to address this inequity. We would note that at 35% target levels for senior women, this would still not fully represent the ‘all employees’ split of a 52% female workforce.1
Women in senior leadership
After achieving our ambition of 30% women in senior leadership positions in 2020, we set a new goal to reach 35% by 2025. At the end of 2021, we had 31.7% of women in senior leadership roles.
Appointments of external female candidates into senior positions was 37.6% up from 31.7% in 2020. Promotions of women into senior leadership roles were 43.2%.
Talen programmes – including Accelerating Female Leadership and our Explore leadership course – have provided skills and coaching to help high-performing women progress their careers at an accelerated rate.
Our ethnicity commitments
In July 2020, we made a commitment to double the number of Black colleagues in senior leadership positions by 2025. WE have focused on the UK and US markets, where most of our Black colleagues are based. In 2021 we grew our number of Black senior leaders by 17.5%.
Our global campaign to invite colleagues to provide us with data on how they identify has provided is with a more robust understanding of the ethnic profile of our workforce. Using this data, in 2022 we are refining our ethnic diversity goals to work towards a diverse senior leadership representation that better reflects the communities we serve. WE will maintain our focus on goals for Black senior leaders and will also establish goals for other underrepresented ethnically diverse groups.
1Combined executive committee and direct reports includes HSBC Group Executives. General Managers, Managing Directors, Group Company Secretary and Chief Governance Officer and their direct reports (excluding administrative staff).
2Senior leadership is classified as those at band 3 and above in our global career band structure.
Source: HSBC 2021 Annual Report & Accounts, p74
Carbon footprint, financed emissions and sustainable finance
- Since 2020, we have provided and facilitated $126.7bn of sustainable finance and investment towards our ambition of $750bn to $1tb by 2030.
- In line with the climate change resolution, we published our thermal coal phase-out policy. For the oil and gas sector, we target a 34% Mt C02e reduction in oil and gas absolute on-balance sheet financed emissions by 2030, from a 2019 baseline. For the power and utilities sector, we target a 0.14 Mt C02e/TWh power and utilities on-balance sheet financed emissions intensity, representing a 75% reduction from 2019.
Source: HSBC 2021 Annual Report & Accounts, p45
HSBC are ahead of most banks in their commitment to sustainable finance. They have an ambitious target of $1tn by 2030, with $126bn already committed. Furthermore, they say that they are fully committed to becoming a net zero bank.
With regards to financed emissions, they state:
“We intend to set targets on a sector-by-sector basis that are consistent with net zero outcomes by 2050. In assessing financed emissions, we focus on those parts of the sector that are most material in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, and where we believe engagement and climate action have the greatest potential to effect change, taking into account industry and scientific guidance.”
Currently, however, the only financed emission data HSBC provide is on oil and gas, power and utilities sectors, as shown below:
1 Absolute emissions are measured by million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (‘Mt CO2e’).
2 For the oil and gas portfolio, physical emissions intensity is measured in million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per exajoule (‘Mt CO2e/EJ’); for the power and
utilities sector, it is measured in million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per terawatt hour (‘Mt CO2e/TWh’).
3 PCAF scores where 1 is high and 5 is low. This is a weighted average score based on loans/advances for on-balance sheet financed emissions, and apportioned
value for facilitated emissions.
4 Total loans and advances analysed in 2019 were $23.5bn, comprising $12.3bn for the oil and gas sector, and $11.2bn for the power and utilities sector, representing
1.8% and 1.6% respectively of wholesale credit and lending and project finance at 31 December 2019. This compares with a total wholesale loan exposure of 7%
for these two sectors overall, as reported in our TCFD disclosures for 2019, which covered the full value chain and all financing activities. On-balance sheet
economic intensity for the oil and gas sector was 2.9 Mt CO2e/$bn, and for power and utilities it was 0.9 Mt CO2e/$bn.
5 For the oil and gas sector, the value chain analysed covers upstream and integrated/diversified operations. For the power and utilities sector, the value chain
analysed covers upstream operations.
6 Total capital markets activities analysed in 2019 was $21.1bn, comprising $15.4bn for oil and gas, and $5.7bn for power and utilities.
† Data is subject to limited assurance by PwC in accordance with International Standard on Assurance Engagements 3410. ‘Assurance engagements on greenhouse
gas statements’. For further details, see our Financed Emissions Methodology and PwC Assurance Report, which are available at www.hsbc.com/who-we-are/
Source: HSBC 2021 Annual Report & Accounts, p48
Data covering other high-emitting sectors will follow, with commercial and residential real estate a priority for them. Following our engagement, it was highlighted that HSBC has a lack of specific targets for properties with EPC certificates above a certain threshold. Management was also sceptical about the incentive mechanism to drive the transition to more efficient homes, as the payback period is very long and uneconomical for most borrowers.
HSBC have a lot of work to cover over the next six months. They still require a holistic energy policy and to look at deforestation impacts in a more granular way. They pointed us to their next Sustainability publication, which is due in March 2023, and to the large increase of data that will be provided there.
Currently, there is no internal cost of carbon accounted for, but again this is being considered and the amount of employee education is very important to them, particularly in helping their clients finance their own net zero transitions.
The HSBC TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure) analysis provided in their 2021 Annual Report & Accounts is a good start, but we said we would appreciate more granular data on which parts of their business would be negatively or positively impacted in the three different climate scenarios, as well as wanting to see more physical risk disclosure. They are also working on improving data sets and modelling capabilities on climate change.
The value of active minds – independent thinking
A key feature of Jupiter’s investment approach is that we eschew the adoption of a house view, instead preferring to allow our specialist fund managers to formulate their own opinions on their asset class. As a result, it should be noted that any views expressed – including on matters relating to environmental, social and governance considerations – are those of the author(s), and may differ from views held by other Jupiter investment professionals.