The accountable executive for our responsible investment business strategy is the Global Head of Product for Equities and Responsible Investment. This also includes coordinating all client-related RI activities, leading ESG-focused product development across all asset classes and leading our policy advocacy activities with HSBC Group’s government affairs team.
Our Global Head of Product for Equity and RI is also a key member of HSBC Group's Climate Business Council (CBC), which is sponsored by Stuart Gulliver, our Global CEO.
Our Climate Business Council (CBC), established in 2010, is an internal strategic committee whose role is to coordinate across the firm, identifying and developing products and services to meet clients’ sustainable finance needs. The CBC support clients who are transitioning to a low-carbon economy. It also pursues opportunities for collaboration across customer groups and products to support integrated climate related initiatives, such as smart cities, and sharing best practices with clients on opportunities to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. In December 2016, we established a new dedicated team, the Sustainable Finance Unit (SFU). Reporting to the CBC, to support coverage, advise on developing content, and work with development teams to help mobilise sources of sustainable finance. In addition, other internal groups look at Risk, Public Policy and External. The SFU acts as a central point of coordination, working hand in hand with HSBC’s product and sector teams. Under the guidance of the CBC, it is working with the global businesses to help establish targets for sectors, countries and products, as well as KPIs for developing and tracking performance.
On the investment side, ESG integration is a shared task so all our 60+ Equity and Credit Analysts allocate around 15% of their time to perform related tasks, while portfolio managers include ESG considerations within their investment decision-making processes. Overall, we estimate that the time spent by our investment staff on ESG considerations corresponds to c. 9 full time equivalents.
These analysts and portfolio managers include 24 ESG Champions, who are all, by definition, members of our front office investment teams. ESG champions are local agents for change and act as the ESG reference point for their respective teams. They are subsequently in charge of training their colleagues on the use of the supporting ESG research and tools. On an ongoing basis they may also be asked to assist in providing ESG-specific content and answers to related RFI or RFP questions for Product, Prospect or Client-specific proposals as requested.
In early 2016 we have reinforced our RI staff by hiring two dedicated ESG engagement specialists: one in Paris, one in London. This is one step on our journey to further strengthening the team we will have a focus on improving transparency on this activity.
At a global level, the entire process operates under the oversight of our Global Heads of ESG Research and Corporate Governance and, ultimately, of our Global CIO. Finally we established our Global ESG Oversight Forum in 2015, which is described in detail in our response to item SG 05.2.