Global banking and financial services company HSBC announced today a series of senior sustainability appointments, including Seb Henbest as Group Head of Climate Transition, Jenny McInnes as Group Head of Sustainability Policy and Partnerships, and Zoë Knight as Group Head of the Centre of Sustainable Finance and Head of Climate Change for the Middle East.

The announcement continues a series of sustainability-focused appointments at the banks, as it adds talent to scale its sustainable finance and investment capabilities. Earlier this year, HSBC announced the appointment of new Group Heads of Commercial Banking Sustainability and Sustainable Infrastructure and Innovation, and last year the firm hired Dr Celine Herweijer as Group Chief Sustainability Officer.

Herweijer said:

“HSBC’s sustainability priorities are scale, speed and science. Scale as we need to mainstream net zero and sustainability more broadly into the bank’s financing and investment decisions. Speed as we are short on time with only eight years until 2030 when the world needs to half global GHG emissions. Science as we need to help clients with science-based client transition plans and use them as the basis for further engagement to achieve net zero.” 

Henbest joins HSBC after 14 years at strategic research provider BloombergNEF, where he most recently served as Chief Economist, responsible for overseeing the firm’s energy economics research and energy transition scenario analysis, and as Lead Author of BloombergNEF’s global energy transition study, New Energy Outlook. His new role will focus on engagement with clients in carbon intensive and hard-to-abate sectors.

McInnes spent the last 16 years in public service, most recently serving as Deputy Director, International Climate Finance for the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), where she established and scaled a portfolio of global climate programmes, including UK PACT, the Climate Finance Accelerator, 2050 Calculator, and NDC Partnership. In her new role, she will focus shaping HSBC’s climate-related policies and policy advocacy, and on collaborations and partnerships with key strategic external partners.

Knight has been with HSBC since 2010, and will relocate to Dubai for her new position, which will prioritise client engagement on the energy transition, and will have a key role in HSBC’s support as Egypt and the UAE prepare to host the UN climate talks in 2022 and 2023.

Herweijer added:

“I am delighted with the bank’s latest sustainability-focused leadership appointments.  Transition to net zero is at the heart of HSBC’s strategy. Achieving it requires a fundamental transformation of the bank, of how we do business, our culture and our capability. It means influencing decision-making at every level of our organisation and these types of sustainability leaders, and others to follow, will do just this.”