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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Excerpts Contd...

Translating CSR into Action Within the Organization

To translate these policies into action, the organization laid a lot of emphasis on having robust internal systems and procedures.

These internal policies, standards, and procedures applied across business units worldwide. They were communicated internally through the Group Standards Manual, a 160-page internal publication that covered the roles and functions of key departments.

It also had detailed instructions for individual HSBC businesses, which took into account the local circumstances, relevant laws, and regulations.

Employees were expected to take personal responsibility and accountability in adhering to these policies and standards. These systems enabled HSBC to conduct their businesses in a responsible manner...

Investing in Education, Nature and People

HSBC realized that a successful group of their size and scope could make a significant impact on the world by ensuring the flow of social and economic benefits through their business.

The bank therefore, began supporting a large number of local community projects. Employees at HSBC actively involved themselves in volunteer work for various community programs. These efforts were supplemented by contributions and fund-raising efforts from corporate houses. Employees were also encouraged to donate from their salaries to charity. In 2003, employees of Household pledged more than US$ 4.6 million, resulting in the American Cancer Society naming it as one of the top contributors through the 'workplace giving' campaign. HSBC's fund-raising efforts in 2003 resulted in donations of US$ 47.4 million that were used to fund numerous projects in education, environment, and other areas (Refer to Figure I)...

HSBC - A Socially Responsible Corporate?

All these initiatives notwithstanding, the HSBC group faced considerable criticism in October 2003 due to its decision to shift 4000 jobs to less developed nations as part of its global resource restructuring drive. The trade unions were outraged and slammed the group's claims of being a model CSR company. HSBC responded by saying that this move was necessary to remain cost competitive in the global scenario. The company also said that creation of jobs in emerging market economies definitely made a positive contribution to society...


Exhibit I: Financial Results for HSBC Group: A Snapshot
Exhibit II: The Equator Principles
Exhibit III: Global CSR Studies - Brief Overview


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