An Abba-inspired flash mob targeted HSBC’s annual general meeting Friday to demand the banking giant stop investing in new fossil fuel projects.
The protesters organised by a subgroup of climate activists Extinction Rebellion attended the bank’s AGM on London’s South Bank where they broke out into song during HSBC chair Mark Tucker’s speech, singing a revised version of Abba hit “Money, Money, Money”.
Video of the protest posted online by Money Rebellion, a group within Extinction Rebellion which targets financial institutions, shows Mr Tucker asking the singers to stop.
“Your behaviour continues to disrupt the order of the meeting, I must ask you once again to disist immediately and to resume your seat or to leave the hall,” he said, as the singers continued unabated. “If you persist I will have no alternative but to get you escorted from the meeting.”
Meanwhile, protesters had also gathered outside the venue greeting attendees with a banner bearing a quote which read: “Dear future generations, please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.”
Addressing the AGM on Friday, HSBC CEO Noel Quinn said the company was committed to develop valid and science-based transition plans for how to move to net zero by 2050.
“These transition plans and the targets within them must be predicated on the science relevant to the individual sectors,” he said.
Last month, HSBC committed to publish a bank-wide climate transition plan in 2023, phase down fossil fuel financing in line with science-based targets, and review and update financing and investment policies critical to net zero, he added.
Climate activist groups including Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil have taken to the streets in recent weeks launching a series of actions aimed at drawing attention to the climate crisis.
On Wednesday, protests involving activist group Axe Drax targeted a government department and protested outside the AGM of energy giant Drax Group, before marching on the Argus Biomass Conference in London, which Drax and other biomass companies were attending.
And earlier this month Extinction Rebellion activists infiltrated Shell’s London headquarters, glueing themselves to the reception desk. Days before activists had blocked the entrance to Lloyd’s of London in protest at the insurance sector’s backing of the fossil fuel industry.
Not all the actions have targeted the financial industry, however, and many have sparked debate as some have directly targeted members of the public, triggering frustration and in some cases outrage.
Just Stop Oil activists blocked and damaged two petrol forecourts on the M25 Thursday, stopping customers from being able to fill up their vehicles during the morning rush hour.
Meanwhile, Insulate Britain activists were due to appear in court Friday for public nuisance after blocking a road in Dover in September and part of the M25 during the same month, the group said.