The story so far

HSBC is investing its time and resources in the HSBC Water Programme because water is vital to building healthy communities and developing local and national economies.

Launched in 2012, this is a five-year, US$100m programme in partnership with Earthwatch, WaterAid and WWF and local project partners. It aims to provide and protect water sources, inform and educate communities in need, enabling people to prosper and driving economic development across the world. 

In addition to the funding given to Earthwatch, WaterAid and WWF, the programme has allocated USD35 million to charities managing local water projects. This funding has been committed to 58 projects in 34 countries which were nominated by HSBC employees. 

The Water Programme 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 under threat from water scarcity. In addition, there are nearly 800 million people without access to safe water and 2.5 billion people 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 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 is delivering

The programme is having a significant impact around the world.

  • 1.4 million people have access to safe water and 1.9 million have access to sanitation across six countries (WaterAid)
  • 148,000 people helped to reduce fishing or farming impacts (WWF)
  • More than 8,000 HSBC employees have been trained as Citizen Science Leaders and over 15,000 data points have been uploaded to a scientific data base (Earthwatch)

Click here to find out what we have achieved in four years of the programme.

Our goals

Across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa we aim to:

  • Ensure new practices and policies are implemented to protect freshwater resources in the Yangtze, Ganges and Mekong river basins, the Pantanal and the African Rift Valley (Mara)
  • Take practical conservation action in 1,500km of river and 350,000 hectares of wetland
  • Help 1,500 small to medium-sized businesses to tackle water risks, including efficiency and pollution
  • Enable 115,000 people to reduce the impact of fishing or farming on water, while potentially improving food security and livelihoods
  • Ensure access to safe water for 1.1 million people and sanitation for 1.9 million in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Ghana and Nigeria
  • Support livelihoods by improving the health of communities and reducing time spent collecting water
  • Provide water and sanitation facilities in schools and hygiene education, including menstrual hygiene for girls
  • Set up freshwater research projects in more than 20 cities worldwide, working with local research partners to address specific local issues
  • Engage 7,500 HSBC employees in freshwater quality monitoring and 100,000 more people to learn about water challenges

Where we work

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Banner image credit: WaterAid/Dieter Telemans