Network: HSBC’s comprises around 8,000 offices in 88 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. Shareholders: Shares in HSBC Holdings plc are held by around 220,000 shareholders in 119 countries and territories. It is listed on the London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Bermuda stock exchanges. Shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange in the form of American Depositary Receipts.
Activities: With a wide international network aided by advanced technology and a fast growing e-commerce capability, HSBC provides an inclusive range of financial services: personal financial services; commercial banking; corporate, investment banking and markets; private banking; and other activities. Corporate Social Responsibility “Our goal is not, and never has been, profit at any cost because we know that tomorrow’s success depends on the trust we build today. Companies like ours must share responsibility for the environment with governments and citizens for minimising the damaging effects of human activity – pollution of land, water and air and the depletion of resources.” (HSBC Holdings plc Sustainability Report , 2011)
Corporate social responsibility, or ‘CSR’, means managing business responsibly and sensitively for long-term success. HSBC aims to address the expectations of its customers, shareholders, employees and other stakeholders. Being one of the world’s biggest banks means the decisions it makes can have a big impact. HSBC looks to lend and invest responsibly, avoiding projects which can cause social and environmental damage that exceed the economic benefits.
Pillars of corporate sustainability At HSBC, CSR forms an integral part of the way it does business. Over the years, the Group’s work in this field has evolved significantly. Today its initiatives span across the country, collaborating with businesses, employees, not-for-profit organisations and customers across 26 cities.
HSBC’s CSR practice rests on the pillars of education, financial inclusion, environment sustainability and employee engagement, the ultimate purpose being to achieve sustainability for business and build prosperous communities. The initiatives under financial inclusion look at improving the life of the marginalized sections of society, through provision of education as well as livelihood skills to youth and women. Under environment, HSBC targets conservation of the biodiversity and climate change. Finally, under employee volunteering or employee engagement it encourages participation of its employees in the various programs and initiatives that it undertakes.
Financial Inclusion HSBC looks at providing education to underprivileged children. A major initiative taken by HSBC in this regard is the Future First program. This is a $10 million, 5 year (2007-2012) program run by HSBC Global in around 49 countries.1 To implement this, HSBC partners with various NGO’s by providing them with support. Some examples are: Prayas ,an NGO that works with the underprivileged children and provides them with clothing, shelter, food, tries to strive for holistic development by addressing the root causes of their suffering. Future First supports a centre in northern Delhi that provides bridge courses for out-of-school slum children aged 6 – 14 years with the aim to mainstream them into the formal education system.
SOS Children’s Villages of India’s mission is to provide abandoned and orphaned children with a family, a home, education and a foundation for an independent life. Future First is supporting a family home in Faridabad and Family Strengthening Programmes in Anagpur (Haryana), Bhuj (Gujarat) and Latur (Maharashtra) for the benefit of children facing the risk of abandonment. Parivartan Social Welfare Society runs community based education centres serving about 2000 out-of-school slum children every year. The project supported by Future First, in Kolkata, aims to provide non-formal education to street children, mainstream these children into formal school and retain enrolled children in schools.
Apart from the above-mentioned examples, HSBC also partners with other NGO’s and till date, it has supported 141 projects in 39 countries, and benefitted around 133,000 children. In India specifically it has supported 19 projects and benefitted 19,237 children. In addition to this, HSBC undertakes initiatives for provision of life and livelihood skills to the marginalized sections of society, to allow them to integrate into society.
Yuva Parivartan HSBC supported Kherwadi Social Welfare Association’s program ‘Yuva Parivartan’, trains youth, from underprivileged communities in Mumbai, in skills needed by the job market. Livelihood Advancement Business School (LABS), a flagship program of Dr. Reddy’s Foundation (DRF), promotes customized vocational courses for young men and women from economically weaker sections of society. HSBC’s support to the LABS project in Pune has trained 187 youth who are now gainfully employed.
They undertake capacity building and microfinance initiatives for marginalized women so as to promote economic independence. Manndeshi Udyogini Business School for Rural Women, in Satara district of Maharashtra, targets young girls who have dropped out of school and women with limited or no formal education. The school prepares them to be entrepreneurs by training them in financial literacy, marketing, technical skills, negotiation skills and confidence building measures.
HSBC provides microfinance and started a lending program for small Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in 2005. It started offering commercial loan products to Large Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) who in turn provide small loans to groups of poor people (mostly women) using well-established micro credit delivery mechanisms. Between January and July 2008, Rs. 1.12 billion (US$ 25.8 million) has been sanctioned out of which Rs. 850 million (US$ 19.58 million)2 has been disbursed to MFIs with a member base of approximately 5.5 million people.
Finally, this category also includes projects aiming at global financial literacy. Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) is an international organisation active in more than 40 countries that mobilises university students around the world to make a difference in their communities while developing their skills to become socially responsible business leaders. SIFE students form teams on their university campuses and develop community outreach projects that equip others with the knowledge and skills to achieve greater economic success.
Environment The first issue that HSBC aims to tackle is that of Climate Change. It has a public private partnership with Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences, GOI called Earth Sciences Forum. It aims to provide solutions to and create awareness about climate change. Another initiative undertaken is HSBC Climate Partnership, which is a USD 100 million five-year global program. The objective of the program is to assess the impact of climate change on various factors like people, cities, forests, etc and then to find solutions to either mitigate or reduce these impacts. This is a partnership between HSBC and four charities – the Climate Group, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Earthwatch and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
In India, they celebrated the environment week in June 2010, the focus was on the Ganges river dolphins. The WWF undertook research on the Ganges River and is assessing the impacts of climate change and pollution in the river and on the surrounding communities. Operation Kachhapa HSBC supports this project undertaken by Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). The objective of this initiative is to educate fisher folk and local communities on the importance of conserving the endangered Olive Ridley Turtle.
In addition to all these partnership, in their Mumbai office, they use low energy light bulbs ; intelligent controls, which is supposed to increase energy saving by 7%. Under waste and water management there are initiatives like Vermiculture.HSBC has also installed sensor taps in place of conventional taps in some offices to reduce wastage of water.