This bank is dirty! Extinction Rebellion calls out HSBC’s Greenwash at AGM in Birmingham - Extinction Rebellion UK

This bank is dirty! Extinction Rebellion calls out HSBC’s Greenwash at AGM in Birmingham

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At 10:30am this morning, around fifty protesters descended on HSBC’s annual general meeting at the Eastside Rooms in Birmingham to call out the bank’s shameful climate policies. It comes as the bank announces soaring quarterly profits of $12.9 billion.

Members of Extinction Rebellion Midlands and Money Rebellion arrived with a bath of greenwash, while a group of ‘dirty scrubbers’ dressed in pinafores and headscarves offered to clean up the bank’s soiled image in return for cash. 

Inside the conference centre protesters brought the AGM to a standstill as they unfurled banners, sang songs, the dirty scrubbers reappeared with dramatic skits, and people repeatedly called out HSBC’s broken promises over its climate pledges, accusing them of ‘climate genocide’ and ‘lies’. Security eventually removed protesters after 45 minutes of disruption. 

HSBC has invested $145bn in fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement in 2016 and the bank’s climate pledges have been tarnished by a series of damaging exposes.[1] 

In December, HSBC made a surprise announcement that it was updating its energy policy and would stop new investment in oil and gas fields in an apparent change of policy.[2] However, it’s climate pledges to date have been revealed as mere greenwash. in January, it was revealed that HSBC had given energy giant RWE a secret $340m loan as bulldozed a village to expand a coal mine in Germany, just three months after the bank had pledged to stop financing new coal.[3] Last October, investigators showed that HSBC’s $1 trillion investment in ‘sustainable financing’ and ‘green bonds’ was being used by fossil fuel companies to bankroll mines, pipelines, and oil rigs.[4] 

Questions have also been raised about the bank’s pledge to stop direct funding of fossil fuel projects, while continuing to indirectly fund fossil fuel companies like Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil and Shell. The bank is also financially supporting ConocoPhillips, the company behind the controversial Alaskan oil drilling Willow project. Despite its various pledges HSBC invested a total of $11.074b in fossil fuels last year.[5]

Jamie Russell, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Midlands, says: “In December, HSBC pledged to stop investing in new oil and gas projects. But this turned out to be pure greenwash as HSBC has continued to pour billions into fossil fuel companies that are expanding oil and gas infrastructure in ways that are incompatible with a liveable planet. It is a death sentence for our kids and for millions of families already suffering in the Global South.

“HSBC’s greenwashing climate pledges aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. No amount of greenwash can hide the bank’s dirty secret: it is making record profits while bankrolling climate chaos. If HSBC wants to get serious about tackling the climate crisis, it should follow the example set by Danske Bank in Denmark: immediately stop offering refinancing and new long-term financing to oil and gas companies that continue to invest in fossil fuels. HSBC is one of the world’s biggest banks, but that won’t protect it from climate breakdown. There are no banker bonuses on a dead planet.”

Andrew Taylor from Money Rebellion said: “HSBC continues to fund new devastating coal,oil and gas projects. These projects destroy the health and livelihoods of communities who live near them, and are fuelling climate chaos. We will use every tool in the box to stop HSBC and other banks from pursuing this deadly business plan – from disrupting their AGMs to building the biggest bank boycott in history.”

This action is part of a series of protests at the AGM’s of climate wrecking corporations over the last two weeks including BP, Drax, Barclays and Standard Chartered. Protesters have used a number of tactics to bring AGMs to a halt, including disrupting the chair’s speech with reworked Spice Girls hits and Shakespearean drama [6].Protesting groups include Extinction Rebellion, Money Rebellion, Fossil Free London, and the Stop Burning Trees coalition.


[1] Rainforest Action Network, Banking On Climate Chaos, 2023

[2] HSBC to end funding for new oil and gas fields

[3] HSBC’s Secretive Loan To Coal Company Bulldozing A Village

[4] Mines, Pipelines, and Oil Rigs: What HSBC’s ‘Sustainable Finance’ Really Pays For

[5] Rainforest Action Network, Banking On Climate Chaos, 2023

[6] Bankrolling our extinction: climate activists halt AGM of Barclays – Europe’s worst fossil fuel funder


Jamie Russell, Extinction Rebellion Midlands



Will be uploaded to this link (please credit: Extinction Rebellion)

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Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

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Time has almost entirely run out to address the climate and ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, leading to societal collapse and mass loss of life. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

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