HSBC Canada injects Green Finance into Canadian business
With recent reports highlighting that Canada is currently on track to miss the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, the Canadian arm of British banking giant HSBC has stepped in with an array of Green Finance products aimed at driving sustainability across the country.
The new products, available to organisations of all sizes, include term loans, commercial mortgages and leasing products, with the minimum Green Loan standing at CA$500,000. According to HSBC Canada, these products are the first of their kind to meet the standards of the Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles which themselves outline “a consistent methodology for use across the wholesale green loan market”.
HSBC has made a global commitment to provide US$100bn in sustainable financing and investment by 2025, with these efforts from its Canadian arm being part of that strategy.
The bank has detailed activities and projects that will be eligible for the new products, including: renewable energy, storage and smart grids; pollution prevention and control; clean transport; climate change adaptation; water and waste management; sustainable management of natural resources and land; and waste prevention and recycling.
HSBC Canada noted that its recent Navigator survey found 95% of Canadian businesses are feeling pressured to boost their relative sustainability, with the impetus being to grow sales, strengthen brands and improve product transparency and traceability by appealing to environmentally and ethically conscious consumers.
“As companies look to become more sustainable, they are investing in green projects and activities, said Linda Seymour, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC Bank Canada, in the company’s press release. “We can continue to support their aspirations through our Green Finance products, which support businesses as they pursue sustainable and environmentally-focused activities.
“Businesses have asked for products that are aligned to their sustainability goals, and we are confident this suite of Green Finance products will support them.”
Michel Tardif, CFO at Targray, a major provider of materials for photovoltaic technology manufacturers and a company which HSBC Canada highlight as the kind to benefit from its new products, added: “Targray is focused on supporting the growth and sustainability of novel energy industries through collaboration, innovation and value creation.
“To do that, we need partners who understand how to financially support companies in their sustainability efforts. We are glad to be working collaboratively with HSBC to create new solutions that fuel the world’s transition towards sustainable energy. Their green loan offering is certainly a step in the right direction.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.