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Why water?

Access to safe water and sanitation and water resource management are vital for global economic growth.

Research for the HSBC Water Programme has found that globally the average return on each dollar invested in providing universal access to water and sanitation would be approximately USD5. In Latin America the figure is USD16, while in some African countries, the capital investment would be paid back in just three years.

Effective water resource management sustains eco-systems, industries and communities by protecting the natural water resources they depend on, such as river basins.

It's because water is vital to building healthy communities and developing economies that we have chosen to develop the HSBC Water Programme.

Making a sustainable difference

Together with three leading NGOs – Earthwatch, WaterAid and WWF – this five-year programme will deliver the following goals:

  • WaterAid will help provide safe water to 1.1 million people and sanitation for 1.9 million people in South Asia and West Africa
  • WWF will protect freshwater ecosystems and resources in the Yangtze, Ganges, Mekong, Pantanal and African Rift Valley; they will also help thousands of small businesses tackle water risks and support 115,000 fishermen and farmers to reduce fishing or farming impacts on water, whilst potentially improving livelihoods
  • Together with Earthwatch, 100,000 HSBC employees across four continents will participate online in freshwater research and learning, and we will engage HSBC employees from all regions through one-day citizen science programmes

This powerful combination of water provision, protection and education will result in the most ground-breaking water programme committed to by a financial organisation.

HSBC Climate Partnership, 2007-2011

The HSBC Climate Partnership was our ground-breaking USD100 million global environmental programme with The Climate Group, Earthwatch, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF. Today, 32 million more people have access to cleaner water than before the project started; three million hectares of forestland have been protected; and low-carbon technology is helping 10 of the world's biggest cities to cut carbon emissions more quickly, paving the way for others.

The partnership delivered the largest forest research project, and created a global community of more than 2,000 employees, called Climate Champions. The partnership also benefited from 63,000 days of volunteering from HSBC colleagues.

The information collected by HSBC Climate Champions brings us closer to answering critical questions about how climate change will affect our forests

Nigel Winser, 
Executive Vice President, Earthwatch

Investing in Nature, 2002-2007

Investing in Nature was a groundbreaking, USD50 million partnership between HSBC, Earthwatch Institute, WWF and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Launched in 2002, Investing in Nature contributed to the protection and preservation of some of the world's most threatened species and habitats. The programme concluded in 2007.

Case studies

Cleaning up the Ganges
Cleaning up the Ganges

HSBC and WWF India – with the support of local NGOs in the city of Kanpur, India – are piloting sustainable, low-cost wastewater treatment to reduce pollution in the Ganges.

Panama Canal watershed experiment
The Panama Canal watershed experiment

HSBC has helped fund a project to reforest degraded land on the banks of the Panama Canal with native and exotic tree species.