PRESS RELEASE: Stuart Gulliver ‘has blood on his hands’ as HSBC AGM shines light on human rights abuses

April 21, 2016

  • HSBC has provided $5.4 billion financing for coal since 2010
  • This includes $232.5m for Drummond, the major mining company implicated in grave human rights violations in Colombia, including 3,100 murders and 55,000 displacements
  • New campaign sees 300 write to HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver to demand the bank quits coal
  • Campaigners, activists and shareholders to grill the board on coal financing and tax policy

HSBC executives are expected to come under fire today for the bank’s alleged complicity in human rights violations in Colombia, as a result of continued support for the coal mining industry.

Facing questions from investors and campaigners at the bank’s annual general meeting, CEO Stuart Gulliver and other executives are expected to be criticised for continuing to fund controversial coal mining company Drummond, to the tune of $232.5m over the last six years. [1]

Drummond faces allegations of complicity in serious human rights abuses in Cesar, Colombia, including the murder of 3,100 people, and the displacement of over 55,000 farmers from their own land. 95% of Drummond’s assets are in Colombia, so any financing they receive from HSBC necessarily supports their operations there. [2]

Speaking outside the AGM, Campaign Manager for Move Your Money, Fionn Travers-Smith, said:

For as long as HSBC’s addiction to coal continues to blind them to the human rights abuses this disastrous industry entails, Stuart Gulliver and other executives at the bank are complicit in Drummond’s crimes, and have blood on their hands.

One major funder has already pulled out from financing Drummond’s continued operations on due diligence grounds, citing concerns over these human rights abuses. HSBC can and must do the same.

The bank cannot continue to shirk its responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and must cease funding Drummond and all other coal companies immediately.

Failure to do so not only calls into question the bank’s due diligence policies, respect for inalienable human rights, and approach to the climate crisis, it also undermines the judgment of HSBC’s board members and their ability to manage a compliant and law-abiding bank.”

HSBC are rewriting their Metals and Mining Sector Policy for the first time since 2007, which is expected to be circulated to external stakeholders in May. Campaigners are demanding that the bank respect their climate commitments, including those made at the Paris COP21 Climate Summit in December, by excluding all coal mining companies in this new policy. 300 letters have already been sent to Stuart Gulliver issuing this demand. [3]

The news comes at a difficult time for the bank, with shareholders also expected to criticise the bank’s tax avoidance and evasion policies, as revealed by the Panama Papers and Swiss Leaks scandals.

Commenting on the developments, Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator at BankTrack, said:

11 international banks have already moved in the right direction on coal mining, but we’re yet to see any progress from HSBC on this front.

HSBC must follow the lead of banks like Natixis and ING and stop financing coal projects and companies around the world – particularly when, as with Drummond, they are implicated in such horrific human rights abuses.

After so many years of silence, this new Mining Policy is an opportunity for HSBC to step up to the plate and prove that it is a forward-thinking and progressive bank. Any hesitation will lose them shareholder confidence, and expose them to the systemic risks associated with continued exposure to coal.”


Fionn Travers-Smith is available for comment and interview, on 07778842565 or

Notes to Editors:

[1] Bank Track – Drummond Company Information:

See also the Drummond Coal Banks briefing, which Move Your Money will be handing out to investors at the AGM

[2] Pax – Stop Blood Coal:

[3] Move Your Money – HSBC, Quit Coal:

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