Water is a huge and growing global challenge. It is essential to all human activity and a fundamental driver of socio-economic growth but, as a resource, it is under strain from population growth, development and climate change.
It is because water is vital to building healthy communities and developing national economies that HSBC has chosen to invest its time and resources in the HSBC Water Programme. Launched in 2012 and backed by an investment of US$ 100m over five years, the HSBC Water Programme is a partnership with three NGOs – WWF, WaterAid and Earthwatch. The programme will benefit communities in need and provide information for more efficient management of vital freshwater resources.
It follows the success of the award winning HSBC Climate Partnership, a five year programme to reduce the impact of climate change on people, forests, freshwater and cities, and accelerate the adoption of low carbon policies.
The global water challenge
A quarter of the world’s population live in ecosystems that are under threat from water scarcity. In addition, there are nearly 800 million people without access to safe water and 2.5 billion people living without access to basic sanitation.
It is estimated that 90 per cent of all population growth by 2050 will occur in regions where water is scarce and where there is currently no sustainable access to water. Furthermore, by 2050, the world’s top 10 river basins by population – nine of which are in growing or fast growing markets – are expected to produce a quarter of all global GDP. Access to safe water and sanitation is the first step out of poverty for individuals, whilst managing water resources effectively sustains ecosystems, industries and communities by protecting the vital water resources they depend upon.
The financial and human implications of these global water challenges are vast, yet there is a compelling case for investment in water. Globally, the average return on each US$1 invested in universal access to safe water and sanitation is just under US$5, according to a report published by Frontier Economics in June 2012.
What the HSBC Water Programme will deliver
The HSBC Water Programme will deliver water provision, protection, information and education across the world, enabling economies to prosper and supporting socio-economic development over the next five years and beyond.
The findings and research of the HSBC Water Programme will be shared with policymakers, NGOs and businesses worldwide so that the HSBC Water Programme can play its part in tackling one of the greatest challenges of our time.