New environmental coalition will tackle climate change impacts for people, forests, water and cities
HSBC has created a five-year, US$100 million partnership to respond to the urgent threat of climate change worldwide with the support of The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and WWF.
The HSBC Climate Partnership will:
- Help some of the world's great cities - Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, New York and Shanghai - respond to the challenge of climate change;
- reate 'climate champions' worldwide who will undertake field research and bring back valuable knowledge and experience to their communities;
- Conduct the largest ever field experiment on the world's forests to measure carbon and the effects of climate change; and
- Help protect some of the world's major rivers - including the Amazon, Ganges, Thames, and Yangtze - from the impacts of climate change, benefiting the 450 million people who rely on them.
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Speaking at the London news conference to launch the program, Sir David Attenborough, one of the world's best known broadcasters and a pioneer of the nature documentary, said, "As we increase the production of greenhouse gases, we face the very real prospect of causing irreversible damage to the Earth's more fragile eco-systems. We are not powerless if we act now, collectively and decisively. We can significantly reduce the causes of climate change and greatly improve the chances of safeguarding for future generations the spectacular diversity of life on Earth."
HSBC Group Chairman Stephen Green said, "The HSBC Climate Partnership will achieve something profoundly important. By working with four of the world's most respected environmental organizations and creating a 'green taskforce' of thousands of HSBC employees worldwide, we believe we can tackle the causes and impacts of climate change. Over the next five years HSBC will make responding to climate change central to our business operations and at the heart of the way we work with our clients across the world."
HSBC's US$100 million partnership - including the largest donations to each of these nonprofit organizations and the largest donation ever made by a British company - has significant program targets and offers transformational support for the environmental charities. The donation will help to deliver increased capacity, help the organizations to expand across new countries and research sites, and increase their access to more people.
Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group said, "Climate change is an increasingly urban issue. High summer temperatures, storms and rising sea levels will have more extreme impacts on city life. We have a short period of time left to take action. Many of the solutions lie in cities - concentrations of capital, decision makers, opinion formers and population. Through the HSBC Climate Partnership we will accelerate our program in five world cities, engaging the most influential businesses and city governments to lead a 'coalition of the willing' against global warming."
Edward Wilson, U.S. CEO, Earthwatch Institute said, "Any decisions regarding the impacts of climate change need to be based on two things. First, a lasting solution has to involve objective science. Second, any solution must engage people and communities in order to promote true understanding and action. Earthwatch Institute is proud to be part of The HSBC Climate Partnership, working to develop a climate change research program in 5 key forests around the world, engaging over 300,000 staff in 82 countries and working with 600 local community members to develop lasting management strategies. This partnership serves as a great example of how you create the change needed for a more sustainable future."
Dr Ira Rubinoff, Director of STRI and Acting Under Secretary, Smithsonian Institution said, "The Smithsonian has studied tropical forests in Panama for nearly one hundred years. We are setting up a network of new Global Earth Observatories, based on the longest-running standardized forest monitoring program, covering all the major tropical rainforest areas of the world. HSBC's donation will enable the Smithsonian to deliver key scientific data in the hands of decision makers responsible for global carbon policy and water management."
James Leape, Director General of WWF International said, "WWF is pleased to be continuing its collaboration with HSBC. Climate change, poor management, and waste mean that water supplies around the world are more and more stressed. The HSBC Climate Partnership will help WWF work towards better management of global water supplies, improve water security for about 450 million people, and reduce the impact of climate change on some of the world's most important rivers, including the Amazon, Ganges, Thames, and Yangtze."
The HSBC Climate Partnership builds upon 'Investing in Nature', the Group's previous US$50 million, five-year eco-partnership which concluded in 2006. The program saw the Group partner with Botanical Gardens Conservation International, Earthwatch, and WWF, saving more than 12,000 plant species from extinction, training 200 scientists, sending 2,000 HSBC employees on conservation research projects worldwide, and protecting and better managing three of the world's largest rivers - including part of the Yangtze River in China - benefiting some 50 million people.
Find out more:
Interview with Earthwatch's Executive Director Nigel Winser
Earthwatch's four priority research areas
Earthwatch's climate change position statement
Earthwatch's guidelines for engaging corporate partners
Background information about the HSBC Climate Partnership
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HSBC Holdings plc
The HSBC Group is one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world. The Group has around 10,000 offices in 82 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa, serves over 125 million customers and has assets of US$1,861 billion as 31 December 2006. HSBC was the first major bank - and the first FTSE 100 company - to become carbon neutral. It was also recognized as 'Sustainable Bank of the Year 2006' by the Financial Times.
The Climate Group
The Climate Group is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing business and government leadership on climate change. We are based in the UK, the USA, and Australia with offices opening in China and India this year. Founded in 2004 by a diverse group of companies, governments and supporters, The Climate Group works to accelerate international action on global warming with a new, strong focus on practical solutions and sharing expertise on how business and government can lead the way towards a low carbon economy while boosting profitability and competitiveness.
Earthwatch Institute is an international environmental organization whose mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Earthwatch Institute was founded in Boston in 1971. Affiliate offices are based in UK, Australia, and Japan. There are 130 Earthwatch projects in 50 countries which focus upon sustainable resource management, climate change, oceans, and cultures.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, a unit of the Smithsonian Institution headquartered in Panama City, Panama, furthers our understanding of tropical nature and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems.
WWF protects endangered species and habitats, and addresses global threats to people and nature such as climate change and the unsustainable consumption of natural resources. WWF works in partnership with governments, business and communities in more than 90 countries to influence attitudes and behavior. WWF creates long-term solutions to the planet's environmental problems.
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