HSBC Launches $100 Million Climate Change Effort

Financial services giant HSBC has announced a five-year, $100 million partnership with four environmental organizations to respond to the threat of global climate change.

Comprised of HSBC, the Climate Group, the Earthwatch Institute, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund, the HSBC Climate Partnership will build on HSBC's previous five-year, $50 million "eco-partnership," Investing in Nature, which concluded in 2006. The latest commitment by the company represents both the largest charitable donation ever made by a British company and the largest contribution ever received by each of the nonprofit partners. "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," said Paul Lawrence, president and CEO of HSBC Bank USA.

The partnership will work to help five of the world's major cities — Hong Kong, London, New York, Shanghai, and Mumbai — respond to the challenges of climate change; create "climate champions" worldwide to undertake field research and bring back valuable information 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 effects of climate change, benefiting the 450 million people who rely on them.

According to Christopher Walker, U.S. director of the Climate Group, climate change increasingly is an urban issue. "High summer temperatures, storms, and rising sea levels will have more extreme impacts on city life.... [And] many of the solutions lie in cities — concentrations of capital, decision makers, opinion formers, and population," he added. "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."