HSBC drops shares in forest trashing Sinar Mas

Posted by jamie — 8 July 2010 at 8:21am - Comments

Wahey, you've scored another victory! After receiving nearly 10,000 emails (and seeing some excellent spoof adverts), HSBC has sold its shares in Sinar Mas, one of the worst companies responsible for ripping up the Indonesian rainforest for palm oil and pulp plantations. It's fantastic news (as The Guardian was quick to agree) that has shone a light on the financial side of deforestation. And you made this happen - thanks!

Of course, this development comes hot on the heels of Nestlé's decision to remove Sinar Mas from its supply chain and the news this week (prompted by our new report into Sinar Mas' paper operations) that Tesco will also stop selling own-brand products using Sinar Mas paper by the end of this year.

We've been talking to HSBC executives for some time about their holdings in Sinar Mas and, even though they've been a bit cagey about exactly what they've done, it's clear that without thousands of people emailing the CEO Michael Geoghegan they wouldn't have made dumping the Sinar Mas shares a priority.

There's still, however, the small matter of HSBC's forest policy which applies to some areas of their business but not others. They haven't said they'll be changing that, although there is a review scheduled for September to decide whether to exclude palm oil from its Climate Change Fund, where some of those Sinar Mas shares were held. We'll be keeping tabs on the process and will let you know how it turns out.

But in the meantime, let's reflect on the progress we've made so far this year. Unilever and Kraft announced they would suspend Sinar Mas contracts for palm oil. After a massive campaign, Nestlé followed suit and has adopted an anti-deforestation policy for their business. And now HSBC has dropped its Sinar Mas shares.

So what next? On the financial side of things, we'll be asking other Sinar Mas investors, like USB and Credit Suisse, to follow HSBC's lead and divest their interests in the company. And we'll be following up on the investigations for Pulping the Planet which revealed how the paper arm of Sinar Mas - Asia Pulp & Paper aka APP - is also tearing its way through Indonesia's rainforest to feed its paper mills.

It's only half way through 2010. What do you think we can achieve by the end of the year?

As soon as I emailed HSBC, the news came back that they'd sold their shares! Please email me the contact details for USB and Credit Suisse and I'll get it done. ;-)
Oh, and add "SuperAwesomeEmailActivist" before my username please!

It was all down to you!

web editor
gpuk

This is fantastic! Well done Greenpeace and everyone who emailed and put pressure on HSBC to change!! I am so thankful Greenpeace exists and works so hard to bring issues like this to light-otherwise people just wouldn't know about it!! I closed my account with HSBC upon hearing they were investing in Sinar Mas! I have now switched to a more ethical bank.

As soon as I emailed HSBC, the news came back that they'd sold their shares! Please email me the contact details for USB and Credit Suisse and I'll get it done. ;-) Oh, and add "SuperAwesomeEmailActivist" before my username please!

It was all down to you! web editor gpuk

This is fantastic! Well done Greenpeace and everyone who emailed and put pressure on HSBC to change!! I am so thankful Greenpeace exists and works so hard to bring issues like this to light-otherwise people just wouldn't know about it!! I closed my account with HSBC upon hearing they were investing in Sinar Mas! I have now switched to a more ethical bank.

i`m so proud of you all,this is so amazing power to greenpeace i love you xxxxxxxx

i bank with hsbc should i still change 2 another more ethical one ? or should i remain  and use changing as a future threat ???

It's entirely up to you, but there are other banks with far better ethical policies than HSBC - here are some of the details.

hello. its pretty good what you's at greenpeace have done; WELL DONE to everyone involved wwith blackmailing hsbc:D

About Jamie

I'm one of the editors of the website, and I do a lot of work on the Get Active section, as well as doing web stuff for the forests campaign. I've worked for Greenpeace since 2006 and, coming from a background as a freelance writer and web producer, it's been something of an education to be part of a direct action organisation. I'm from Cumbria originally but now I live in north London - I came to study here and somehow have never left.

My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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