An HSBC employee from Brighton is setting off for two weeks of wildlife conservation in Argentina. His expedition is part of Investing in Nature, an £11 million, five-year eco-partnership between HSBC and environmental NGO, Earthwatch Institute (Europe).
Robert Milsom, an HSBC Branch Support Officer, will leave his desk to travel to Argentina, where he will help Earthwatch scientists to study the habitat of foxes, wild cats and hog nosed skunks in order to measure the health of the eco-system. The jaguar has already disappeared in this region of South America and unless conservation efforts continue, other endangered mammals will not be far behind.
Working as part of an integrated research and conservation project in Argentina's largest protected park, Robert will learn how to set bait, check traps, help tag, weigh, measure, and examine the carnivores before releasing and radio tracking them. With an opportunity to travel outside of the park, Robert will discover more about the devastating effects human activities are having upon these threatened species.
Robert said, 'I feel as a consumer nation we are oblivious to the simple choices we make on a daily basis and how these can affect the environment. It is all too easy to forget about the environmental problems that face us today. I am very keen to play my part in understanding more about these problems, however small that may be.'
Robert is just one of 500 HSBC Environmental Fellows who will work on Earthwatch conservation projects in 2004, ranging from Spanish dolphins to zebras in Kenya. By 2006, 2,000 HSBC employees will have contributed the equivalent of a century of environmental research and 200 talented scientists will have received valuable training. The HSBC fellows will also be eligible for a grant of up to £400 to initiate a local environmental project on their return home.
The five-year Investing in Nature partnership also involves Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), and WWF, and is the largest-ever single donation to the environmental charities. In addition to Earthwatch's contribution, Investing in Nature will clean up three of the world's major rivers, benefiting 50 million people who depend upon them, and help save 20,000 rare plant species from extinction.
Richard Spence, HSBC General Manager, Southern Division, said: "Investing in Nature is well on the way to meeting its five year goals, and the partnership has really raised the level of environmental awareness amongst all levels of staff. With Earthwatch, HSBC employees not only contribute to vital conservation work around the world, but share their new-found knowledge with colleagues, family and friends on their return through the local environmental projects they create."
Frank Vorhies, CEO of Earthwatch, said, "Investing in Nature is a great example of how businesses and NGOs can work successfully together. We are able to link the network of HSBC employees worldwide with the environmental knowledge available from Earthwatch scientists to raise awareness and understanding of environmental issues on a global and local level."
"Our work with HSBC, allows us to fulfil our mission by engaging their employees in scientific research projects and at the same time we are all able to further support the efforts of HSBC in promoting a sustainable environment." To date, 500 HSBC employees from over 40 countries have contributed 25 years of vital environmental research in projects around the world through the Earthwatch programme.
For press information, interviews and images, contact:
Zoe Gamble, Press Officer, Earthwatch, on + 44 (0) 1865 318813 / firstname.lastname@example.org