HSBC arranged the financing jointly with Credit Suisse and Macquarie Securities, but Global Witness said in doing so HSBC violated its own forestry sustainability guidelines, which say the bank will not provide financial assistance to commercial logging operations in primary tropical moist or high conservation value forest.

Global Witness campaigner Mike Davis said Samling’s “bread and butter” business was logging tropical moist forest in Guyana, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia among its 4 million ha of resources, and large territories had been identified as high conservation value by the WWF.

Global Witness was among 37 NGOs from 18 countries that called on investors to shun Samling. HSBC did not comment.