HSBC, WWF agree on new partnership

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-05 06:59

The HSBC and WWF have renewed and expanded their partnership by launching a new five-year project that promises to bring both environmental and economic benefits to China, representatives from the bank and the global conservation organization said.

Under the HSBC's $100 million global program to address climate change - in which the bank also partners with The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) - HSBC and the WWF will build upon the successful "Investing in Nature" scheme, which has already helped breathe new life into the Yangtze River.

"The Yangtze program showed that cooperation between the WWF and HSBC can bring real benefits to China's environment while at the same time helping to expand the prosperity of rural areas," said Richard Yorke, president and chief executive officer of HSBC China, who was in Beijing yesterday for the WWF annual meeting and symposium.

"I am confident that the new program will bring even further positive developments."

The new program will seek to demonstrate the economic and social benefits of harvesting the wetlands to help increase the incomes of thousands of farmers in the Yangtze Delta area.

The earlier HSBC-WWF joint effort - a 2002-06 project that reconnected three typical isolated lakes in Hubei Province with the Yangtze River - has already shown that scientific and environmentally friendly projects can bring real benefits to the countryside.

Under that project, fishermen at Lake Zhangdu were provided with information on how to reduce pollution through eco-friendly fertilizer and were taught how to plant edible bamboo to augment their income. As a result, in just two years fish production increased by 17 percent, fishery income doubled and farming income quadrupled.

Globally, HSBC's "Investing in Nature" program is estimated to have benefited some 50 million people, saved more than 12,000 plant species from extinction, and trained 200 scientists.

Speaking from the launch of the new partnership in London, WWF International Director General James Leape said the new partnership - which is double HSBC's investment in the "Investing in Nature" program - could bring benefits to hundreds of millions of additional people worldwide.

"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," Leape said.

As well as the environmental work in rural areas along the Yangtze, HSBC's climate change partnership will benefit urban residents in some of China's major cities. The partnership will seek to improve water quality in Shanghai and other cities along the Yangtze.

Beyond the Climate Partnership, HSBC China recently began to sponsor research by Shanghai's Tongji University on carbon dioxide emission reduction in the Yangtze River Delta region. HSBC said that addressing climate change may be the most important challenge of this century.

China Daily

(China Daily 06/05/2007 page4)

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