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Earthwatch has partnered with HSBC for more than a decade, providing expertise in sustainability leadership and learning, employee engagement and scientific research.

By engaging HSBC employees and senior leaders in research and immersive learning experiences, the collaboration works to better understand the impacts of urbanisation and climate change, whilst embedding sustainability into day-to-day business practices.

About the partnership

As part of this partnership, Earthwatch, WaterAid, and WWF launched the HSBC Water Programme in 2012. The eight-year programme aims to provide and protect water sources, inform and educate communities in need, enabling people to prosper and driving economic development across the world.

Launched in 2012 and originally a five-year, US$100 million programme, it was extended in 2017 following its success over the initial term. The extended programme will be the next stage in the evolution of the partnership for Earthwatch with the development of the Sustainability Training Programme - focusing on regional scientific research projects investigating the relationship between climate change and blue-green urban spaces. From this, the programme is ideally placed to support HSBC in building understanding of these issues and how these connect internally to sustainability and the bank’s priorities.

Historically, Earthwatch’s first formal partnership with HSBC was Investing in Nature, a five-year partnership launched in 2002, featuring WWF and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. As part of this program, HSBC sent 2,000 employees on Earthwatch field research projects around the world and helped Earthwatch train 230 scientists from the developing world on Earthwatch projects. HSBC participants undertook environmental projects in their workplace or local communities, supported by grants from HSBC.

Building on the success of the Investing in Nature partnership, in 2007 HSBC launched the HSBC Climate Partnership. Partnering with The Climate Group, Earthwatch, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and WWF, the HSBC Climate Partnership was a US$100-million, five-year program to reduce the impact of climate change and accelerate the adoption of low-carbon policies. Earthwatch helped influence the way HSBC does business by engaging HSBC employees in understanding more about the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and using that knowledge to reduce their own impacts at home, at work and those of HSBC operations.

Interview: Alex Base

We sat down with Alex Base, HSBC’s Global Head of Operational Sustainability, to talk about the new HSBC Sustainability Training Programme. It will investigate the benefits of blue and green urban areas globally, empowering HSBC employees to become sustainability champions and adapt business culture to answer the challenges of our changing climate.

Case Study: Borneo

We are working with HSBC to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Through our immersive learning experiences and hands-on research, the young leaders of tomorrow gain an understanding of what sustainability means to them, both personally and for their businesses, so that they can help protect our environment for the future.

HSBC Sustainability Leadership Programme

This unique professional development experience promotes understanding and leadership of sustainability as a core business issue and opportunity.

HSBC Water Programme

This eight-year global programme aims to provide and protect water sources and the ecosystems that they support, inform and educate communities in need, and enable people to prosper.

Images: John Hunt, Jay Ortiz


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