Earthwatch Institute, Maynard, MA, April 30, 2008-Over
the next four years, hundreds of employees from the world's largest bank will slog
through a forest bordering Chesapeake Bay, learn about how climate change
relates to their bottom line, and live in dorms for 12 days at a time.
It is all part of a much larger $100 million program called
the HSBC Climate Partnership, which was formally announced in 2007 and runs
through 2011. Earthwatch recently launched
its part-the largest known employee engagement program on climate change-at the
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Maryland.
Starting mid-April the first two of 28 12-member groups of HSBC
employees started working side-by-side with Earthwatch and its partners to
assist ecologists at SERC in carrying out forest research. A third team fields
April 28th-May 9th, and the next suite of teams will participate
this fall. Their work will
contribute to a long-term study on how forests respond to a changing
"But even more important than their days in the field is
what they do when they go home," said Alana Jones, Head of Regional Climate Centers. Each HSBC employee works with
Earthwatch to create action plans detailing specific changes they will
implement to embed climate change and sustainability into the way they "do
business" back at the office.
One example is Bill Thomas, director of technological
services for HSBC's credit card division, entered the program a self-proclaimed
"climate skeptic." Since completing the training and field program, he has
changed all the printers in his office to default to double-side printing as a
way to save paper. "I get it now,"
"We have an expression in banking: one nickel a million times over is a lot of
money. Now my new saying is, ‘One
ream of paper a million times over is a lot of trees.'"
"While many in the world, including some next door in Washington,
DC, lock horns in debate about the best way for businesses to move forward in
the face of climate change, we are taking real action toward a sustainable
future," said Edward Wilson, president and CEO of Earthwatch. "This kind of
aggressive engagement program is the only way to make a real difference."
By the time the five-year program wraps up in 2011, 350 HSBC
employees will be "climate champions" who have gone through the North America
Regional Climate Center at SERC, which is one of five centers Earthwatch has
established around the world. The
others are in the UK, Brazil, India and China.
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Kimbra Cutlip, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
(SERC), 443-482-2325, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Francine Minadeo, HSBC, 212-525-8737, email@example.com.
Formed in 2007, the HSBC Climate Partnership brings together
HSBC, The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research
Institute and WWF to tackle the urgent threat of climate change on people,
water, forests and cities. For
more information, visit www.hsbc.com/committochange.
is the world's largest environmental volunteer nonprofit organization. Its
mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and
education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable
environment. With approximately 120 projects fielding in more than 55 countries
worldwide, Earthwatch focuses its research efforts on climate change,
endangered species and resources, marine biology and ocean conservation, and
threatened traditional cultures. Earthwatch ranked 11th (of 550) in
the "Business Guide to Partnering with NGOs and the United Nations" published
last year by The Financial Times, the
United Nations Global Compact and Dalberg Global Development Advisors.