Two HSBC employees from London are travelling to far off lands this month to take part in two weeks of wildlife conservation. Their expeditions are part of Investing in Nature, an £11 million, five-year eco-partnership between HSBC and environmental NGO, Earthwatch Institute (Europe).
Armin Fell, an HSBC Assistant Systems Analyst, will be leaving his desk in London to help Earthwatch scientists to assess the population status of the Rock Fowl and their ecological requirements in the forests of Southern Cameroon. Armin will help to make observations of nesting and adult bird behaviour while assessing the impact of human activities on the vegetation surrounding their nests.
Working as part of an integrated research and conservation project, Armin will join the effort to identify critical sites for viable populations and develop appropriate recommendations for the protection of the Rock Fowls habitat.
Meanwhile, Jennie Knight an HSBC Senior Audit Executive, will be traveling to Peru where she will help Earthwatch scientists with their research into the Amazon Basin Rivers, which provide a lifeline for local communities and wildlife. All the data that she helps to collect will help with the long term management of the ecosystem.
Jennie says, 'It is deeply saddening that there are so many hazards facing some of the most beautiful parts of the world, I am really looking forward to giving something back while learning more about the rainforest and the conservation efforts that are underway,'
Armin and Jennie are just two 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, says, '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, says, '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, 620 HSBC employees from over 40 countries have contributed 25 years of vital environmental research in projects around the world through the Earthwatch programme.
Photo credit: ©Doug Peters/EWE