Global commitments to rebuild and transform economies and societies post-pandemic have thrust sustainability into the spotlight. We look at why it matters to businesses here in the Channel Islands and how HSBC can support your journey to a more sustainable future.

The UK Government has committed to a Net Zero target by 2051, whilst the EU has framed its Next Generation fund in terms of recovery, resilience, and digital and green transitions. It’s part of a global movement that is driving an increasing focus on sustainability and ESG principles and it’s a focus shared by business stakeholders across the spectrum. Before 2013, for example, just 20 per cent of S&P 500 companies disclosed ESG information, but in 2018, that figure rose to 85 per cent. Meanwhile, research shows that two thirds of people are willing to pay more for sustainable goods.

Little wonder then that 85 per cent of businesses see environmental sustainability as a priority according to recent research by HSBC. “Sustainability has moved from being a nice to have to something that is fundamental to a business’ attractiveness in an increasingly competitive marketplace,” says Aline Ayotte, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC Channel Islands and Isle of Man. “As we emerge from the pandemic, ensuring your business is engaged with sustainability and has a strategy to achieve that, is going to be even more important.”

Build back better Sustainability goes hand in hand with commercial viability and resilience. The opportunities from embracing sustainability, and the risks of not doing so, could be significant. They include the growing need to meet stringent regulatory standards, using sustainability to deliver operational efficiency, as well as meeting increasingly demanding stakeholder expectations. “Across the Channel Islands, we’re seeing businesses actively seeking opportunities to transform their businesses by becoming more sustainable,” says Aline. “It’s drawing on the agility and innovation that islanders are renowned for.”

With finance highlighted by over one third of businesses as the main barrier to a more sustainable future, HSBC in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man has responded by introducing a range of green products. As the ‘World’s Best Bank for Sustainable Finance’ for two years’ running, we are committed to helping businesses transition to a more sustainable future.

Financing a greener future through our banking products and services such as loans, savings and investments, we are helping our customers be more sustainable, with the aim of encouraging changes in behaviour and enabling them to take steps in the right direction. Our green loans proposition offers term loans and revolving credit facilities to companies of all sizes looking to secure funding for sustainable activities. In one of our business green loans, we will reduce our rates if the customer achieves agreed sustainability targets – this is something that’s becoming increasingly important for larger corporates whose shareholders are demanding more sustainable practices.

To help businesses assess their eligibility, we have also partnered with Sustainalytics, and our client-facing teams are on hand to support businesses to explore the solution that works best for them.

“Whether you’re just thinking about sustainability, starting out on your journey, or a seasoned ESG proponent, we can help you make the most of the opportunities it presents to refocus, recover, rebuild and grow your business,” says Aline.