For Earthwatch, 2018 is set to be an eventful year with the launch of the new HSBC Sustainability Training Programme. Rooted in a robust citizen science model, this experiential training programme is the evolution of the HSBC Water Programme, going further to investigate the role urban blue-green spaces can play in tackling climate change issues by maintaining the natural water cycle and providing ecosystem services.
In the face of mass urbanisation in the context of climate challenges, HSBC employees from the UK, France, US, Canada, Mexico, India, UAE, China, and HK will all have the opportunity to take part in an Earthwatch led programme to both conduct environmental field research and explore sustainability issues key to future proofing the business sector. Under the guidance of leading researchers, the programme will ultimately generate new research insights and recommendations into urban blue-green infrastructure, build HSBC’s employee-base knowledge on sustainability and provide them with a foundation of knowledge from which adaptive sustainable finance can thrive.
At WaterAid, 2018 is already shaping up to be a busy year.
HSBC Water Programme funded projects are well underway in Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Nepal, Nigeria and Pakistan, improving water and sanitation facilities in each country through different projects.
Over the course of the year, WaterAid will be telling stories of how access to clean water and sanitation is transforming lives, contributing to improving productivity and future-proofing economies. Highlights of our work this year includes a project in Bangladesh to ensure water and sanitation facilities are resilient to the effects of climate change, and a national advocacy programme in Pakistan working with policymakers and journalists to push water and sanitation related issues up the national agenda.
This year, we will also be focusing on the impact access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) has on women, looking at water inequality through a gender lens. With several key political events in the calendar for 2018, we will be continuing to raise the profile of WASH on the international stage.
In August, 100 HSBC employees from around the world are gearing up to trek an incredible 100 kilometres across Greenland to raise money for WaterAid. With only very basic facilities on the trek, participants will gain insight into what life is like without access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.
In terms of what’s happening in the UK, together with law firm Eversheds Sutherland, HSBC and WaterAid are putting on the first of series of talks, WaterAid presents. With special guest David Croft, Global Sustainability Director at Diageo as a keynote speaker, a panel will interrogate the question ‘Do businesses have a critical role to play in sustainable development?’. The event is taking place on 15th February in London – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
2018, the freshwater superyear, is a critical time for our planet in the run up to hitting 2020’s environmental targets and WWF continues to drive forward its work to protect and preserve our world’s precious rivers and wetlands.
Phase Two of HSBC Water Programme projects in key river basins are focusing on a continuation of context-based conservation work combined with new ambitions to fulfil. In the Ganga, the team are focusing on water stewardship – working with businesses to help mitigate the negative impacts of pollution on the river and its inhabitants – in addition to environmental flows, ecosystem-based sewage treatment, sustainable fishing, riverbed farming, governance, sustainable finance, and the SDGs.
In the Mara, the team held its first stakeholder meeting in December as they initiated the first River Health Assessment (RHA) process. The meeting brought together key institutions in the basin including WRUAs, the Water Resources Authority, and large scale water abstractors such as tea factories and county governments. In the meeting, they agreed on key components of the RHA, including indicators and threshold. Work in the Mara this year will also focus on water allocation planning – key for the coexistence of nature and local businesses including tourism.
The Mekong team is stepping up its engagement with financial institutions, the private sector, citizens, development partners, and governments over the coming year, while the Pantanal will focus on sustainable finance, governance – including the Pantanal Pact – and comms. WWF-Brazil will host the Journey of Water from 4-8 March along the Paraguay river, joined by local politicians, influencers and celebrities to help raise awareness of the need to protect the Pantanal for all.
Among many conservation priorities, work in the Yangtze will concentrate on water stewardship, national policy influencing and work around the fishing ban.
Earth Hour – WWF’s most well-known global climate campaign – is also just around the corner, taking place on Saturday 24 March 2018, 8.30pm. Climate change is the biggest environmental threat we have ever known. Our oceans are choking from plastic and over-consumption is decimating our forests. Earth Hour is a global movement to protect the planet. This year we are asking everyone to make a promise to do something in their own lives and actively choose to be part of the solution. We encourage you to find out more, sign up, and make a promise for the planet at: www.wwf.org/EarthHour