According to HSBC, it has achieved its goal of carbon neutrality, the net zero emission of carbon dioxide gas, and it has reached its goal three months ahead of schedule.

The UK-headquartered bank said it is the first major bank to go ‘carbon neutral’. It has reduced its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to zero by reducing energy use, buying green electricity and then offsetting the remaining CO2 emissions by investing in carbon projects.

In 2004 HSBC made public its intention to go carbon neutral by January 2006 and has achieved its objective three months ahead of schedule.

Based on last year’s data, HSBC has estimated the company’s carbon dioxide emissions for the last three months of 2005 will be around 170,000 tons. In order to compensate for these emissions, at least 170,000 tons of carbon credits need to be bought. Furthermore, an offsetting portfolio of projects has been assembled, located in New Zealand, Australia, India and Germany, at a total cost of $750,000.

Sir John Bond, HSBC chairman, said: HSBC is constantly looking at ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce its output of environmentally damaging waste. As part of this plan the bank has pledged to cut its net emissions to zero and will embark on a carbon neutral ‘dry run’ for the last quarter of 2005, to ensure it is fully prepared ahead of the previously announced January 2006 deadline.