An HSBC employee from Warrington, Cheshire, is heading to Vietnam for two weeks of wildlife conservation. Her expedition is part of Investing in Nature, an £11 million, five-year eco-partnership between HSBC and environmental NGO, Earthwatch Institute (Europe).
Annette Smith, an HSBC Employee Benefits Manager, will be leaving her desk to travel to Vietnam, where she will help Earthwatch scientist Vu Van Lien to monitor the butterflies of Tam Dao National Park. Sought after by naturalists and prized by collectors, these living bursts of colour are sensitive indicators of ecological change and provide a window into the health of the ecosystem.
Working as part of an integrated research and conservation project Fiona will rise early to walk through different habitats to count and identify butterflies. She will learn to recognise different species from the giant birdwing to effervescent whites. Fiona's efforts will help Earthwatch to identify threatened butterfly species that are urgently in need of conservation.
Annette says, 'I am very excited about this project, Tam Dao National Park will be a fascinating place to work and I hope to learn a lot about the local environment while playing an important role in the conservation effort.'
Annette 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.
Irene Dorner, HSBC General Manager, Northern 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.
Zoe Gamble, PR Intern, Earthwatch: Tel: +44 (0)1865 318806 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann-Marie Evans, Media Relations Manager, HSBC Holdings plc, Tel: +44 (0) 207 991 0846 or email: email@example.com