Jul 9, 2017
HSBC triggers probe of Noble’s palm oil unit
HSBC has triggered a probe into the palm oil subsidiary of commodity trader Noble Group, which is facing allegations of preparing to clear pristine rainforest in Papua New Guinea. The bank's call for an investigation by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the industry standards body, is a first for a leading bank, and comes after HSBC this year tightened its standards on lending to the palm oil industry, pledging to cut ties with companies linked to deforestation. The palm oil industry produces about 63m tonnes of palm oil worth about $37bn a year. Palm oil is used in products from toothpaste to ice cream, and the years of demand growth have led to the destruction of tropical forests in Southeast Asia to make way for plantations. Jamie Woolley from Greenpeace UK said: "HSBC's decision to do the right thing and trigger an investigation into its own client could save thousands of hectares of pristine rainforest. If other banks are serious about stopping the destruction of rainforests for palm oil, they need follow suit and take responsibility for their clients' behaviour."
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