Skip to main content
A Magazine for Sheffield

Sheffield activists target HSBC ads over fossil fuels

Climate campaigners have hijacked adverts across the city to highlight the multinational bank's role in climate breakdown.


Brandalism target a HSBC advert on Ecclesall Road.


Climate activists have amended HSBC adverts across Sheffield to raise awareness of the bank's multi-billion pound investments in damaging fossil fuels.

Billboards in Shalesmoor and Darnall as well as Ecclesall Road, Arundel Gate and Charter Row were targeted by the group Brandalism as part of a 'week of action' in ten UK cities.

Activists have accused the bank of "climate colonialism" because of its investment portfolio, which includes fossil fuel extraction in Mozambique and indigenous territories in North America.


"People don’t realise where their money is invested, and I find that terrifying," said Elizabeth Fox, an Environmental Science student at Sheffield Hallam University.

"These artworks from Brandalism are a timely reminder of how big polluters like HSBC deceive the public with their advertising and use it to distract from their harmful investments.”

The spoof adverts are a parody of the bank's 'We Are Not An Island' campaign, which activists say gives a false impression of HSBC as an ethical and 'local' bank.

A recent report found that since the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, HSBC have invested £67 billion in fossil fuels around the world.

This includes a Liquid Natural Gas extraction project in Mozambique, which local people say has led to hundreds of families being evicted from their homes.

“We've known about climate change for decades, and it is rapidly getting worse," said Sheffield climate activist Bob Calder.

"HSBC have recently made an announcement about ‘net zero by 2050’ but they still continue to plough massive and ever-increasing amounts of money into the biggest polluters."


The bank have long had a major presence in Sheffield, operating their 'global IT hub' from brand new £90 million headquarters in Charter Square.

Brandalism's campaign is set to continue throughout autumn with a series of "public information nights" exploring HSBC's role in climate breakdown.

Activists and NGOs want to see big banks divest from fossil fuels and switch their investments to renewable energy.

"They need to stop investing in coal, oil and gas projects across the globe and start funding sustainable alternatives instead," said Calder.

Learn more
by Sam Gregory (he/him)

More Climate & Environment

Mind the (emissions) gap

Carbon emissions are still increasing as global policies fail to address climate change. Could systems thinking be the way forward?

More Climate & Environment