Emerging Markets shine amid climate change gloom

Press Release   •   Oct 26, 2010 10:08 BST

The results of HSBC's fourth Climate Confidence Monitor, published today, reveal that climate change is one of the top three concerns globally, on a par with economic stability and terrorism. In Hong Kong and Vietnam, climate change is the number one concern.

The emerging economies provide a welcome note of optimism, leading the way in terms of concern, personal commitment and the belief that climate change can be stopped in a survey that reflects a largely gloomy picture of a worried, pessimistic public. Two thirds (64 per cent) of respondents in China claimed to be making a significant effort to help reduce climate change, compared to 23 per cent in the UK, 20 per cent in the USA and 11 per cent in Japan. One in three people in Vietnam, India and China believe climate change can be halted, compared to just one in twenty in France and the UK.

People's opinions surrounding the business opportunities and economic prospects presented by climate change were more encouraging. Over half of respondents in Brazil, India and Malaysia strongly agreed their country would prosper and new jobs would be created by responding to climate change. The UK and the US were slightly less optimistic, but still a third of people thought economic opportunities and new jobs could be created.

This sentiment was accompanied by a strong call for business to invest in addressing climate change, with almost three quarters of people in France (73 per cent) and more than two thirds in Germany (67 per cent) expressing the view that greater business investment is needed in this area. NGOs and individuals were seen as central to the effort, backed up by effective government intervention (such as carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes).

Lord Nicholas Stern, Special Adviser to HSBC's Group Chairman on Economic Development and Climate Change, said: "Strong national and global policies that provide incentives for investment in clean technology, that price fossil fuels in ways that reflect their true economic and social costs, and that assist consumers in using energy more efficiently, have the potential to unleash a significant pool of investment that can serve as a powerful engine for a new era of economic growth."

Stuart Gulliver, Chairman, HSBC Europe, Middle East and Global Businesses [and Group Chief Executive Designate], added: "The climate business sector is growing fast and emerging markets are leading the way. Governments are pushing ahead with decarbonising their economies and businesses are responding by producing more low carbon goods and services. HSBC is working with clients to help them sow and reap the benefits of the low carbon economy."

For further information, interviews and pictures contact:
Daniela Hale, HSBC Holdings plc
Tel: +44 207 992 5786

1) Further research findings

  • When asked to rank climate change against other issues as a priority for public spending, only healthcare was the outright higher priority. Addressing climate change is as high a priority for public money as tackling crime, supporting the national economy and funding education in most markets
  • Four years of tracking data show that concern about climate change is picking up again after a slight drop
  • Global optimism that climate change can be stopped is now 30 per cent lower than in 2007
  • But the divergence of views is enormous – in Vietnam, 1 in 3 are optimistic whereas in France and the UK the figure is only 1 in 25, and 1 in 20 respectively
  • Only 1 in 5 people globally believe that those who should be addressing climate change are doing what is needed
  • China is the only market where more than half of respondents feel confident that enough is being done
  • Just over a third of individuals claim to be making a personal effort to reduce climate change (this is a slight fall on last year), with the emerging economies making the most effort
  • The developed economies feel most strongly that business should invest more resources in tackling climate change (France: 73 per cent, Germany: 67 per cent, Hong Kong: 65 per cent) Recycling, reducing home heating / air conditioning and other energy saving home improvements are seen as the most important steps people can take to combat climate change.

2) Background on the research

The Climate Confidence Monitor research was carried out as an online survey by Lightspeed on behalf of HSBC in August and September 2010. A minimum of 1,000 respondents were surveyed in each of 15 markets. Quotas were set to be nationally representative in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and USA. Respondents in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam were representative of the online population in those countries.

3) HSBC Holdings plc

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 8,000 offices in 87 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,418 billion at 30 June 2010, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC is marketed worldwide as 'the world's local bank'.

4) HSBC Climate Change Centre of Excellence and Cleantech Equipment Team

The HSBC Climate Change Centre of Excellence produces research for clients on climate change science, policy and markets, including a comprehensive analysis of the fiscal stimulus for climaterelated investments across the globe. The Centre recently estimated that the low carbon energy market will triple to USD2.2trn and the global market for efficient lighting will be worth USD79bn in 2020. In 2009, the Centre produced the first comparative assessment of the vulnerability of the G-20 nations to climate impacts through to 2020. These reports help our clients identify risks and opportunities and make informed investment and business decisions.

HSBC is working with the renewable energy and 'cleantech' sectors in Asia and other parts of the world. A specialist 'cleantech' equipment team was established in 2009 to provide advice, equity, debt and project financing to customers focusing on electric vehicles, fuel cells, solar photovoltaic and thermal products, and wind turbines.