HSBC takes the lead in the UK as peers retreat from climate stewardship at Big Oil



UK investors 2023

UK votes climate resolution 2023


In 2023, HSBC Asset Management is the only large British investor voting for change across all oil majors, while their peers vote against the Follow This climate resolutions that request Paris-aligned emissions reductions, The Guardian and Bloomberg report today.

Bloomberg: “HSBC is the only true steward of the global economy,” said Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This. “Their peers enable most oil majors to continue to cause climate breakdown.” 

The Guardian: Mark van Baal, the founder of Follow This, claimed that the investors had chosen to sacrifice climate action in favour of “short-term profits”, which have rocketed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. 

Van Baal said: “This is a false dilemma: shareholders can enjoy dividends from oil and gas while oil majors invest these profits in renewables to drive down emissions at the same time. Taking short-term fossil fuel profits and addressing long-term climate risks are not mutually exclusive.” (also see our op-ed in the FT)  

On the contrary, the current windfall profits represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in new business models in renewable energy. 

Shell, BP, Total, Exxon, and Chevron are using votes against the Follow This climate resolutions to justify postponing emissions cuts, which conflicts with the goal of Paris to limit global warming to 1.5°C. According to science, global emissions, mostly CO2 from burning coal, oil, and gas, must fall by around 45% by 2030 to reach that goal. 


UK votes at US oil majors 

When compared to 2022, most UK investors withdrew their climate demands from US oil majors in 2023. Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), Abrdn, and Janus Henderson released ExxonMobil and Chevron from climate action by voting AGAINST climate resolutions in 2023 after voting for the same resolutions in 2022. 

NOTEWORTHY: Remarkably, LGIM voted against Shell’s in-house Say on Climate resolution. 


We thank HSBC Asset Management for their leadership and trust their peers will follow. Eventually, all large Dutch investors joined Actiam in supporting climate resolutions. 

Big Oil needs to change, or Paris will fail. That’s a decision for shareholders.