This World Water Day, we are excited to confirm a three year extension of the HSBC Water Programme, and to celebrate the achievements of its first five years. The Programme has helped to build healthy communities and to develop economies in 43 countries worldwide, bring water to some of the world’s poorest people and protect globally important river and wetland habitats.

In September 2015, United Nations member countries adopted 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development aiming to end poverty, protect our planet, and ensure future prosperity by 2030.

Although the HSBC Water Programme has already begun to address many of these goals, over the next three years, they will become a core focus of the Programme with ambitious targets.

Water is at the very heart of sustainable development and ensuring all the Global Goals can be met. Under Goal 6, world leaders have committed to ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

Meeting this goal requires close collaboration between governments, the private sector, NGOs and civil society. The HSBC Programme facilitates these partnerships through community outreach work, employee engagement and research collaborations.  

Sanitation for all

Over the last five years, WaterAid and HSBC have transformed the lives of people in six countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Ghana and Nigeria. Together 3,114 water pump mechanics have been trained, 3,602 water and sanitation committees formed, and safe water access brought to 1.6 million people and sanitation and hygiene for 2.5 million people.

With WaterAid, the Programme will focus on improving lives and sustaining healthy communities through better access to safe water, decent sanitation and hygiene behaviours. The partnership will support the sustainability of existing projects as well as reaching even more people with water, sanitation and hygiene services.

This will be achieved both from the top down and from the community level up:

  • Working with international bodies and with national governments, national systems and private sector to improve the systems which map, plan, budget, deliver and maintain WASH services
  • Working with district governments and local communities and to improve local mapping, planning, budgeting and service delivery. In turn we work with communities to help them improve their own services, for example, to build their own toilets and to hold their local councils to account

WaterAid Chief Executive Barbara Frost said: 

“We are immensely proud and excited to continue our work on the HSBC Water Programme alongside Earthwatch and WWF for a further three years. The scale and ambition of the Programme, the investment in WaterAid over the past five years and the partnership approach fostered by HSBC has allowed us to plan, take risks and to make sure our work is delivered sustainably. We look forward to many more successes during this extended term. Thank you to all involved for your vision, determination and hard work.”

Employee engagement

Earthwatch has empowered HSBC employees to become part of the solution to the global water challenge. More than 8,000 employees have been trained as Citizen Science Leaders taking part in urban freshwater research projects established in 38 cities across 18 countries.  This has resulted in 30 partnerships with wildlife protection organisations and rivers trusts around the world, 2,500 water sites sampled across 6 continents and 15 studies in leading scientific publications.   

Earthwatch has today launched the Water Academy, a new initiative that connects HSBC employees, families and friends to local communities and regionally relevant freshwater related projects that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

There will also be opportunities to build skills and seek professional development through active involvement in volunteering and learning activities, with a suite of business sustainability experiences. 

Protecting freshwater

WWF and HSBC will continue to support healthy rivers, healthy communities and healthy economies through protecting and strengthening freshwater ecosystems in five global river basins which are home to over 1 billion people.

WWF believes that tackling the global water crisis is both a shared responsibility, and a shared opportunity to create life-changing impact through sustainable development. Working together, we can realise a success story for people and the environment: over the past five years of the HSBC Water Programme, more than 170,000 people have been empowered to reduce their water impact through fishing of farming; 1,800km of river and 527,000ha of wetlands have been protected; and over 1,000 businesses have been engaged in tackling the water crisis.

Over the next three years, we enter a crucial phase of a long-standing partnership that was formed in 2001 between HSBC and WWF, where we will continue to support these global achievements with a further focus on delivering on the SDGs to help secure the world’s freshwater resources.

“One day, I want to see my grandchildren swim in the river, without having to worry about their health. If we all work together, we can do it.” – Virender Pal, Ganga river basin, India.

With collective action from businesses, government and communities, we can meet the freshwater needs of people and nature, allowing both to prosper.

HSBC employees can see more from the event by clicking here.

Water Stories

American photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz presents images from an ongoing study of the global water crisis

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