HSBC has joined Mastercard’s City Possible program to accelerate sustainable urban development, with the companies saying Thursday that they plan to work together to craft an approach to green financing for sustainable projects in “net-zero” cities worldwide.
The U.S.-based credit card issuer and the London-based bank said they will pool their resources toward City Possible, a “global network of cities, businesses, academics and communities [working] together to make the world’s cities more inclusive and sustainable.” Mastercard said it will draw on HSBC’s history of developing financial products supporting sustainability.
The partnership will initially focus on how cities and their suppliers are adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic and expanding the network to include more of the locations where HSBC is active and add more business clients that provide city systems and urban services. The companies will also seek to facilitate greater interaction between business clients and government entities to drive innovation and spur demand for green financing.
Mastercard began City Possible in 2018, describing the program as connecting cities “with academia and businesses to identify common challenges that can be best addressed through collaboration.”
Sixteen cities, including Baltimore, Honolulu, Kansas City, San Diego in the U.S. as well as others in Europe, Asia and Australia, were among the founding members. City Possible now has more than 180 member cities, including throughout the U.S. and in South America and the Middle East. HSBC and Mastercard intend to focus their efforts on net-zero cities, which generate as much energy as they use annually.
Through the program, city, industry and academic players can share concerns and ideas about cybersecurity, transportation, disaster management, inclusive social assistance and more, including confronting the pandemic — an issue they didn’t have to deal with when City Possible was created less than two years ago.
“Cities worldwide will face a COVID-19 challenge that will spur urban innovation and digital transformation,” Mark Tucker, chairman of HSBC, said in a statement. “Partnerships like City Possible will help to ensure that cities of the future adapt to health imperatives while advancing sustainable economic growth.”
On Thursday, Mastercard also said that it had begun a partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board through City Possible. The partnership’s first task is developing digital initiatives for seamless international travel and e-commerce, to respond to increased demand for contactless options in a COVID-19 world.
HSBC joins nearly a dozen industry partners in City Possible, including AT&T, Lyft and Willis Towers Watson. The Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University has been an academic partner since the program began.