Earthwatch and HSBC jointly hosted the event Changing the climate of opinion: inspiring a workforce about climate change on Wednesday 8 July 2009.
The purpose of the event was to offer an in-depth insight into the workings of the HSBC Climate Partnership Programme and this was done using the voices of those HSBC staff who had been on the programme - the Climate Champions. These individuals' first-hand accounts provided a unique insight into the experience, how they were affected by it and the ways they feel it is changing the ethos of HSBC. It was these Climate Champions that brought the event to life and gave it a truly interactive feel.
The event was held in the unusual and picturesque venue of the Museum of Garden History - a converted church with its very own medieval garden in the heart of Westminster. The guests were a mix of senior employees from the business world, MPs and members of the Scottish assembly and various other governmental bodies such as the Greater London Authority.
The evening was kicked off with an introduction from Peter Bull, Head of HSBC in the Community. This was directly followed by a short presentation from Earthwatch's International Director of Partnerships, Dave Hillyard. Having outlined the programme and its successes to date, Dave ended his presentation by asking two of the Climate Champions present, Adrian Bailey and Fezzan Ahmed, to join him on the stage to answer questions about their experience of the programme. This then turned into a discussion with the audience.
Chris Goode, Manager and European Coordinator for the HSBC Climate Partnership, said: "It was great to see so many members of the audience asking questions, as this really highlighted their level of engagement. It was also refreshing to hear Climate Champions answering completely unscripted, but so eloquently and really demonstrating their enthusiasm."
The winning quote of the evening came when Fezzan Ahmed answered a question about the impact the programme had had on him by explaining that he wasn't sure HSBC was the right place for him until he went through the programme and now feels more committed than ever.
Later on in the evening there was a presentation from Lenka Sobotkova and Paul Crone, both Climate Champions, who had travelled from the HSBC office in Worthing. They gave a compelling account of their time at the Europe Regional Climate Centre followed by a breakdown of the implementation stages of their business plans. For the audience this really served to bring the Climate Champion journey to life.