HSBC to insist suppliers boost sustainability

1 June 2010

1 June 2010 | Nick Martindale

Financial services company HSBC is to put more pressure on suppliers to improve their sustainability and environmental performance.

In its Sustainability Report 2009, the global bank said it would continue to engage with new and existing vendors on sustainability performance and bring more consistency to its own standards and systems.

“Our overall aim with suppliers is to use our influence to raise the bar of sustainability performance and to ensure that HSBC is not exposed to reputational risks associated with purchasing from an organisation with poor social or environmental standards,” the report said.

HSBC updated its supplier code of conduct in 2009 to include a greater emphasis on social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainability, and introduced a more rigorous sustainability questionnaire into its supplier relationship management process.

One hundred existing suppliers in the US and UK have already been assessed and the questionnaire will be used across continental Europe and the Middle East in 2010 and to other areas in 2011.

HSBC said: “Our goal is to help suppliers who enter our selection process to improve their own standards where necessary or possible, thereby gradually setting a higher benchmark for their industry as a whole.”

The bank also developed a vendor management programme in North America in 2009 to manage the risks associated with its supply base, which it plans to implement in other countries this year.

HSBC’s total carbon emissions rose from 787,000 tonnes in 2008 to 851,000 in 2009, despite a 26 per cent reduction in emissions resulting from business travel.

The bank offset this by purchasing 851,000 high quality verified emission reductions (VERs), investing in wind power, energy efficiency and small-scale hydro projects in China and India.

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