Sheffield Uni slammed by its SU for ‘unethical’ £126,000 investment with HSBC

‘Either the university needs to stick to its own policy or reform it immediately’

The University of Sheffield has been slammed by its Students’ Union for “violating its own ethical investments policy” and spending £126,068 on an investment with HSBC.

HSBC bank invests over £830 million in, and provides billions of pounds of services to companies that sell weapons and military equipment to the Israeli government, critics claim.

HSBC is also Europe’s second-largest financier of fossil fuels, according to Rainforest Action Network,

The SU said it sees this as violating the university’s Endowment Investment Policy which reads: “Investment Managers should seek to eliminate exposure to explicit environmental damage or the manufacture or sales of armaments”.

Jordan Weir, the Student’s Union Development Officer, told the Tab: “Despite having an ethical investment policy, the University of Sheffield continues to invest tens of thousands of pounds in an unethical bank which contributes to the climate crisis and international conflict.

“So far, they have refused to listen to us or engage with the fact that this is morally wrong. Either the University needs to stick to their own policy or reform the policy immediately to make it more robust. Every pound they invest which contributes to the violence and suffering around the world is unacceptable.”

Jordan said the SU had “tried” throughout the year to get the university to revise their ethical investment policy to “reflect more responsible investment”.

Weir added that alongside universities such as Leicester, he had asked Sheffield University to implement a policy that allocated 10 percent of the university’s investment portfolio to “impact” investments – investments that aid with renewable energy and social housing developments.

Jordan said although the Sheffield University is not directly funding the projects that HSBC help to fund, their passive support of HSBC’s apparent involvement with supporting fossil fuels and arms manufacturing is “not good enough”. 

A spokesperson from the University of Sheffield told The Sheffield Tab: “The University is committed to ethical investment and has a policy on investing responsibly.

“We can confirm that the HSBC investment does not conflict with this policy. We will continue to work closely with the Students’ Union on ethical investments and our other commitments to sustainability.”

HSBC says it does not provide financial services to customers who solely or primarily manufacturer or sell weapons and that it is withdrawing financing for new coal-fired power stations to support a change to a low-carbon economy.

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