The term 'sustainability' for HSBC is about running our business for the long term. It is about investing in customer relationships; ensuring that our governance is robust; and that our risk appetite is prudently managed. This approach allows us to contribute to socio-economic development and environmental protection in a number of ways.
Through our day-to-day business activities we support individuals and organisations in achieving their financial goals; we provide employment for around 300.000 colleagues; we pay taxes in the countries where we operate; and we invest directly in communities, through our education and environment programmes.
At HSBC sustainability teams work at a Group, regional and country level to shape the bank's approach to managing environmental and social risk, our community investment programmes, new business opportunities in the emerging 'climate business' sector and the companies' own footprint. Throughout the group's operations, many other employees are responsible for the implementation of these programmes for example in credit risk, purchasing, information technology and relationship management teams.
HSBC has a long standing commitment to protecting the environment and believes it is fundamental to a thriving society and sound economy - upon which business depends.
The activities of the bank impact the environment in two main ways:
In 2005, HSBC was the first bank and FTSE100 company to become carbon neutral. We manage our direct impact on the environment by operating as efficiently as possible and integrating environmental measures throughout our functions. We have four-year targets for energy use, water use, waste and carbon dioxide which ran to the end of 2011. We will report on how we performed against those targets - and explain how we achieved carbon neutrality for the year - in our Sustainability Report.
We manage our indirect impacts through working closely with corporate customers to manage the social and environmental risks of their business, against strict guidelines, and to maximise the opportunities to develop more sustainable solutions.
HSBC supports the communities where we operate by providing employment, making tax contributions, payments to suppliers, and investments in local businesses. We also make a direct contribution to communities through donations and employee volunteering.
We focus our community investment activity on education and the environment - the fundamental building blocks for the development of communities. We aim to allocate around 75% of our donations to these two themes.
In 2010, HSBC spent US$108 million on community investment activities. Our approach is to partner with world-class charities that are making a difference, and we remain involved in the decisions about how the money is spent. We encourage our employees to get involved in their local communities, and we know that this motivates and engages our people.
Our educational support focuses on:
Our flagship education programme for disadvantaged children is Future First. Launched in 2006, this programme provides access to education and teaches life skills to deprived and excluded children, whether on the streets, orphaned or in care. Through Future First, HSBC supports a wide range of programmes from scholarships, teacher training, supporting school equipment, family support programmes and vocational training.
The programme currently supports more than 300 projects in 49 countries benefiting some half a million children worldwide. HSBC has committed $25 million to this programme.
Our recent report highlights some of the successes of the programme so far and sets out the Future First agenda for the next five years.
Our global financial education programme, JA More than Money™, teaches students about earning, spending, sharing, and saving money, and potential careers.
JA More than Money™ is run in partnership with Junior Achievement Worldwide and is facilitated by HSBC volunteers. As Dollars and $ense, it was one of JA Worldwide's most successful youth financial literacy programmes in the United States. Results of an independent survey in 2007 showed that the 7 to 11 year old students who participated in this initiative demonstrated a much better understanding of financial concepts than others of the same age.
JA Worldwide has taken the programme to 32 countries across five continents in the year 2009-2010.
HSBC and JA Worldwide have a long-standing relationship, having collaborated for 65 years in the United States and more than 25 years in the United Kingdom, where JA Worldwide operates as Young Enterprise.
The HSBC Holdings plc Sustainability Report is written for institutional investors, customers, non-governmental organisations and others with a particular professional interest in the Group's approach to sustainability.
This report focuses on the specific environmental and social issues that contribute to the sustainability of HSBC, and were of interest to our stakeholders.