HSBC pumps $100 million into Bill Gates’ climate tech investment fund

HSBC has announced it is to invest $100 million in Bill Gates’ new climate technology investment fund, the Breakthrough Energy Catalyst.

The bank said the investment made it an “anchor partner” in the fund, which aims to raise $15 billion in public and private capital to accelerate the development and deployment of next generation clean technologies, such as direct air capture, clean hydrogen, long duration energy storage and sustainable aviation fuel technologies.

The Breakthrough Energy Fund aims to pool funding from governments, philanthropic organizations and individuals to support the four nascent industries that it regards as critical to achieving net-zero emissions and help drive down technology costs to a level that would allow deployment to rapidly accelerate. Funding is expected to be channelled into specific projects and not into companies, according to the update.

HSBC said it would join the leadership council for the catalyst, where it would be able to share expertise about transition opportunities in its biggest markets.

“Our unique international footprint makes us well placed to advise on the global challenges and opportunities presented by the net-zero transition, especially in Asia and the Middle East,” said HSBC chief sustainability officer Celine Herweijer.

Microsoft billionaire Gates said that collaboration between players across the economy would be critical to tackling climate change and accelerating the net zero transition.  

“To reach net zero, we need to reduce the cost of clean technologies so they can be deployed at scale and become more affordable and accessible for all,” he said. “The only way to achieve this is through deep collaboration across public and private sectors — no country, company or individual can halt the progress of climate change alone.”

Steel giant ArcelorMittal, automaker General Motors, American Airlines, the BlackRock Foundation, Bank of America and Microsoft are among the corporates and financiers that have backed fund to date. The initiative also boasts a raft of global business leaders and investors as board members, including Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Japanese tech entrepreneur Masayoshi Son and British hedge fund manager and philanthropist Sir Chris Hohn.

Noel Quinn, CEO of HSBC Group, predicted that just a small number of green technologies would “reshape the industrial landscape of the world” over the next five to 10 years.

“I am grateful for the opportunity for HSBC to be part of Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to accelerate their development and make them scalable,” he said. “I genuinely believe this ground-breaking partnership can help bring these much-needed clean solutions to market and build a more sustainable world.”

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