HSBC announced the appointment of three more senior sustainability experts. The bank is poised to announce more appointments in 2022, as it builds an industry-leading sustainability team to work alongside frontline bankers, quoting its priorities as “scale, speed, and science,” in its drive to enable clients to transition to net-zero.
The bank’s commitment to putting science-based engagement on its clients’ transition plans at the forefront of client engagement is attracting leading sustainability experts in technologies and solutions critical to a net-zero future.
HSBC’s hiring push — which started with Celine Herweijer’s appointment as the bank’s first Group Chief Sustainability Officer — is focused on creating an industry-leading sustainability centre of excellence experienced in all regions and sectors.
The bank’s reach across industries and geographies puts it in an influential role to finance the transition to a net-zero future and to help scale new technologies and solutions.
It also recently announced its commitment to request and review clients’ transition plans — starting with those in the most carbon intensive sectors — and use them as the basis for further engagement, and it has been growing its sustainability talent around the world to facilitate this commitment.
The newest appointments announced today include Seb Henbest — previously the chief economist at Bloomberg NEF — who is joining HSBC as its Group Head of Climate Transition. He brings with him in-depth knowledge of energy transition and net-zero pathways across multiple geographies, including Asia Pacific and the Middle East. The role has a particular focus on engagement with clients in carbon intensive and hard-to-abate sectors on all aspects of the transition.
Jenny McInnes joined as the Group Head of Sustainability Policy and Partnerships. She was previously deputy director of international climate finance partnerships at the UK’s government’s Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and has led major global public-private programmes across Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa, driving accelerated climate action and investment in sustainable infrastructure and nature.
Collaboration and partnership with key strategic external partners and shaping HSBC’s climate-related policies and policy advocacy will be at the forefront of McInnes’ priorities.
Zoë Knight will relocate to Dubai as Group Head of the Centre of Sustainable Finance and Head of Climate Change for the Middle East. Accelerating growth in the region is a priority for HSBC’s strategy, and this move reflects the importance HSBC is placing on financing transition across the Middle East.
Knight brings a wealth of expertise to the role, having advised institutional investors and corporates on climate change and the energy transition for many years as a commissioner of the Energy Transitions Commission.
She will prioritise client engagement on the energy transition and will have a key role in HSBC’s support as Egypt and the UAE prepare to host the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change in 2022 and 2023.
“HSBC’s sustainability priorities are scale, speed, and science. Scale, as we need to mainstream net-zero and sustainability more broadly into the bank’s financing and investment decisions. Speed, as we are short on time, with only eight years until 2030, when the world needs to half global GHG emissions. Science, as we need to help clients with science-based client transition plans and use them as the basis for further engagement to achieve net-zero,” said Herweijer.
“I am delighted with the bank’s latest sustainability-focused leadership appointments. Transition to net-zero is at the heart of HSBC’s strategy. Achieving it requires a fundamental transformation of the bank of how we do business, our culture, and our capability. It means influencing decision-making at every level of our organisation, and these types of sustainability leaders — and others to follow — will do just this.”