Case study: HSBC banks on worldwide understanding of climate change

HSBC is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint, increase efficiency and cut costs by educating staff on climate
change by getting them involved in volunteering.

In 2007, HSBC made a five-year commitment to climate change initiatives and continues to work with longstanding partner Earthwatch. In the bank’s Investing in Nature programme, staff around the world can work on community projects.

The participating employees, known as climate champions, make two-week field trips to Earthwatch’s five research centres in the US, the UK, Brazil, India and China. There they work alongside scientists to study how the world’s degraded forest ecosystems are responding to climate change. It is hoped the employees will become agents for change in the workplace and the wider community.

Investing in Nature runs alongside HSBC’s overall engagement programme, which includes online learning and local volunteering efforts. It also offers multilingual programmes across five climate change centres.

The project runs until 2012, and HSBC is on track to engage one-third of its 330,000 employees in discussions about climate change and its implications for business, communities and individuals.

Sue Alexander, senior manager, environmental programmes at HSBC group corporate sustainability, says: “If you have a workforce that understands what the issues are, they are able to deal with it in their business lives. We feel there are green technology organisations that will come knocking on HSBC’s door. By opening up the debate and raising awareness, we felt there would be commercial benefits.”

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