HSBC announces £500million Green SME Fund to help businesses go carbon neutral

HSBC announces £500million Green SME Fund to help businesses go carbon neutral

Businesses say cost is a ‘key barrier’ when it comes to reducing emissions

With growing environmental concerns, businesses in the UK are now working towards carbon neutrality with the pledge to reach carbon net zero by 2050.  Doing so would make the UK a ‘net zero’ emitter ‘ and this requires businesses to step up and find ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Now, HSBC has announced plans to launch a £500 million Green SME Fund to support businesses in their transition into a low carbon economy.

According to new research from HSBC UK, half of businesses are feeling pressure from customers, government and the media to go carbon neutral ‘ but just 23% are measuring environmental metrics. In addition, a quarter of small businesses want to play their part and believe that focusing on environmental sustainability will grow their business in the next 12 months. However, they said cost was a key barrier. Now, HSBC UK wants to help remove these financial barriers small businesses face in their journey to a lower carbon economy. HSBC’s new £500 million fund is available for businesses with a turnover of less than £25 million and will offer 1% of cashback loans, starting from £1,000 to help SMEs invest in green activities. This is the first ever green offering for small businesses with a cashback proposal in the UK. 

To qualify for the cashback, evidence must be provided that the use of the loan proceeds meets HSBC’s Eligible Criteria for Green Activities, which have been independently reviewed by Sustainalytics. HSBC UK is also launching a Sustainability Assessment Tool that provides actionable insights and resources to help businesses transition to net zero.

Businesses of all sizes are now facing increased pressure from the government to reduce emission and strive for carbon neutrality. And SMES, which form the backbone of the economy, are the forefront of change. Speaking from COP26, Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK said: I am delighted to announce to the launch of HSBC UK’s £500m Green SME Fund. Companies of all sizes and sectors have a role to play in the journey to net zero, however the sustainable finance market has been predominately focused on larger corporations. It’s critical that access to funds isn’t a barrier for small and medium sized businesses working to achieve lower carbon emissions.

We want to help businesses seize the opportunities and growth potential that environmental sustainability offers and the fund, along with our new and expanding suite of tools and resources, will make it easier for small businesses to take practical steps to cut their emissions and help their customers to cut theirs too.

SMEs can apply for the Green SME Fund through this link here.

Latifa Yedroudj
Latifa Yedroudj

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