Bangladesh's best bank for CSR 2019: HSBC
It isn’t every day you find a bank willing to do its bit for working women (and men) in the world’s oldest profession, so let’s hear a round of applause for HSBC. The British lender takes its commitment to corporate social responsibility seriously everywhere it operates. But it goes a step further in Bangladesh, where it focuses on sustainable finance and supply chains, and on improving wider financial literacy and general employability.
In a country where few have access to clean water, its WaterProgramme is genuinely important. It has installed rainwater harvesting systems and solar-powered reverse osmosis plants in the districts of Satkhira, Sunamganj, Meherpur and Khulna, serving community clinics, schools and, in the city of Banishanta, a brothel reckoned to be the largest in the country.
HSBC is busy empowering women entrepreneurs in Chittagong, where it is disbursing start-up loans to female-owned firms and running 16 corporate training programmes.
Country chief executive Francois de Maricourt has worked hard to improve financial literacy, joining forces with the British Council in Dhaka and Chittagong to provide training to 2,000 students in 20 schools in underprivileged communities.
HSBC’s 2018 Business Case Competition was attended by 168 students from 22 universities, and the winning team flew to Hong Kong to attend a regional competition.
Textile manufacturing, a key export sector, received a boost in 2018 when HSBC and the United Nations Development Programme joined forces to help foster a more sustainable domestic supply chain. The initiative aims to improve community wellbeing and skills training, tackle environmental and social issues, and reduce carbon emissions.
HSBC is also helping to support disaster management projects, notably supporting displaced Rohingya from Myanmar and providing clean drinking water to thousands of people in flood-prone areas.