London / Singapore In a new report, non-governmental environmental organization Greenpeace International, claims HSBC loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to some of the most destructive palm oil companies in Indonesia.
Singapore and Kuala Lumpur regularly suffer from lung bursting periods of severe pollution when a thick haze blows across the Malacca Straits from nearby Sumatra, Indonesia.
The haze is considered particularly hazardous as the small size of the particles enters the human lungs more easily.
The central business district of Singapore (pictured) home to numerous international banks, including HSBC, has been blanketed in a choking smog on numerous occasions.
The Greenpeace report claims that In the past five years, HSBC has been part of banking syndicates that arranged $16.3 billion of loans (and nearly $2 billion of bonds) to six companies whose palm oil operations have destroyed vast areas of rainforest, peatland and orangutan habitats in Indonesia.
Deforestation and peatland destruction by Indonesias palm oil and pulp sectors is widely acknowledged as a root cause of forest fires (pictured) and haze.
A study by Harvard and Columbia universities estimates that over 100,000 adults across Southeast Asia died prematurely as a result of the 2015 haze crisis.
The report documents loans and financial services allegedly from HSBC to palm oil companies responsible for destroying rainforest, including orangutan habitat, seizing land from local people,operating without legal permits, and draining and developing carbon-rich peatland
HSBC Shares Concern
The London based bank has issued a statement to address the accusations saying that HSBC shares Greenpeaces concern about deforestation in Indonesia and appreciates the informed and constructive contribution which Greenpeace provides to both the palm oil and the forestry sectors.
However the bank says that customer confidentiality restricts it from commenting on specific companies.