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CSR Initiatives at HSBC: Making Good Business Sense

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG049
Case Length : 11 Pages
Period : 1999-2005
Pub. Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : HSBC
Industry : Banking / Financial Services
Countries : UK

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Morality is as important as earnings growth."

- From 'Managing for Growth' - the HSBC Group strategic plan for 2004- 2008, March 2004.1

"Our Group strategic plan, 'Managing For Growth', which will guide us for the next five years, therefore calls for a renewed focus on CSR and on greater disclosure of our performance and policies than hitherto."

- Sir John Bond, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc, March 2004.2

Corporate Social Responsibility at HSBC

To illustrate the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in HSBC, the 'world's local bank', there is an example that has been often quoted.

In 2001, HSBC had begun planning the logistics for the movement of 8500 staff from around 20 different sites in central London to its new 45-storey headquarters at Canary Wharf in London's Docklands district.

One of the key challenges was the disposal of more than 3000 metric tons of office furniture. HSBC was faced with the options of either disposing off the furniture through landfill or of recycling and reusing it. Though the landfill option would have been easier and more cost effective, the management at HSBC decided to look at the option of reuse of this furniture by smaller organizations and charitable trusts. It partnered with Green-Works, a not-for-profit social enterprise providing office furniture to schools, charities, community groups, and start-up businesses.

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Nigel Pate, Senior Manager of the 'HSBC in the Community' program, said, "Through Green-Works we found an innovative solution to ensure that our furniture will be put to good use.

Our partnership has led to the opening of Green-Works' Silvertown warehouse, which in turn created local jobs and training development. We are delighted that such a good social enterprise is now expanding on a national level."

The final destination of the office equipment discarded by HSBC was Gambia3 where the equipment was distributed to schools, hospitals, and a wide range of non-government organization projects under the President's Award Scheme. Though the cost of disposal of the furniture through the Green-Works option was 10% higher than the landfill option, the company went ahead with it as it was in line with their values and principles on environmental management and social responsibility.

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1] Source: HSBC in Society, Corporate Social Responsibility Report, 2003.

2] Source: HSBC in Society, Corporate Social Responsibility Report, 2003.

3] Gambia - a small country in Africa on the western coast.


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