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HSBC and Commerzbank are financing dubious palm oil company Noble

Oil palm graveyard - these palms were injected with pesticides (paraquat, according to locals) so to kill them and allow preparations for the next planting. | Bild: Wakx [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] - Flickr

In January 2017 Greenpeace released the report „Dirty Bankers – How HSBC is financing forest destruction for palm oil“. 1  This report provides a detailed explanation of the business relations between HSBC and controversial palm oil companies.
HSBC is considered to be one of the leading investors of the palm oil industry. Noble Group for example, a supplier of agricultural and energy products based in Hong Kong, is financed by this bank. Through their subsidiary and joint venture, Noble Group is engaged in palm oil production in Indonesia.
Their plantations spread over an extensive area of ecologically valuable and unique regions of Papua New Guinea. There is a danger that by converting these forests into palm oil fields, the region’s biodiversity and ecosystem will be irrevocably destroyed. Due to these and other severe environmental risks the Ethics Council of the Government Pension Fund of Norway recommended excluding Noble from its fund in 2013 2  .  The justification: despite being a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) the company does not take adequate measures to protect forests within the concept of HCVF (High Conservation Value Forest). Noble rejected the complaints as “false assumptions” and stressed their RSPO-membership with its associated obligations.

Among HSBC, Commerzbank is providing revolving credit facilities to Noble as Bookrunner and Mandated Lead Arranger since 2009.

More on Noble Group and its investors:

  1. „Dirty Bankers – How HSBC is financing forest destruction for palm oil”, Greenpeace, Jan 2017 []
  2. „Annual Report 2014:Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund Global”, Dez 2014 []