Extinction Rebellion have put up billboards in bus stops, spoofing HSBC ads, alleging the bank is conducting “climate colonialism”.
The organisation accuses HSBC of “bankrolling significant human rights abuses through their fossil fuel investments”. The group says that this is part of a UK-wide week of action, with activists in over 10 UK cities taking similar actions (including Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow).
One spoof ad says, with an HSBC logo on fire behind: “We are climate crisis. Drilling oil, fracking gas, mining coal. We’re still funding the lot.”
The activists claim HSBC is investing in a Liquid National Gas project in Mozambique. At the 2020 HSBC AGM, local NGO, “JA!/ Friends of the Earth Mozambique” told the board, “The development of HSBC-funded LNG gas project has caused mass human rights violations in Mozambique, forced removals of hundreds of families from their homes, and the loss of livelihood for farmers and fishermen who have been deprived of their land and access to the sea.”
In October, HSBC announced an “ambitious plan to prioritise financing and investment that supports the transition to a net zero global economy”, pledging to cut to net zero financed emissions from their portfolio of customers by 2050 at the latest.
Group Chief Executive Noel Quinn said, “Our net zero ambition represents a material step up in our support for customers as we collectively work towards building a thriving low-carbon economy.”
April Jones, from Extinction Rebellion Oxford, said, “It’s important that people understand that HSBC may call itself the world’s local bank, but its actions are actually endangering the world, especially people in some of the poorest parts of it.”
The group worked alongside “Brandalism” activists. Tona Merriman from Brandalism, said: “HSBC likes to position itself as a friendly high street bank through its marketing, but these artworks tell a much darker tale of human rights abuse facilitated by the bank’s activities.”
Extinction Rebellion is an environmental campaign group, which calls itself a “non-violent civil disobedience activist movement”.
In January this year, Extinction Rebellion activists protested outside Oxford’s Examination Schools against the Oxford Farming Conference.
Cherwell have contacted HSBC’s Oxford branch for comment.