A new partnership to protect freshwater | WWF

A new partnership to protect freshwater

Posted on
21 February 2002
Godalming, UK - WWF and HSBC, one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world, have joined forces to work on global freshwater systems over the next five years. The partnership will focus on reversing the decline in freshwater habitats in Brazil, China, the UK, and the US. "The global freshwater crisis, and the wave of species extinction, are way beyond the ability of any one business or any one government to solve" declared Sir John Bond, Group Chairman of HSBC, launching the partnership today. "We all have a responsibility for the stewardship of this planet, which we hold in trust for the future." Robert Napier, Chief Executive of WWF-UK, described freshwater as a "critical issue for WWF and for the world". The partnership would enable "pioneering work" to be done which would otherwise be impossible — "work which will affect millions of people and thousands of species all around the world." HSBC is setting aside £12.7 million for its freshwater work with WWF. In addition, the corporation is supporting two other charities — Botanical Gardens Conservation International and Earthwatch — as part of its Investing in Nature programme. Its total financial involvement is £35 million over five years. In Brazil, the WWF-HSBC programme will include national and regional campaigns on the use and conservation of water, reaching out to more than 10 million people. In China, the objective is to restore the "land of fish and rice" in the central Yangtze river. The programme will establish a breeding area for fish and a nesting area for waterfowl, and will restore 1,000km2 of wetland to relieve the river's arteries. It will also reduce flood levels by half, directly benefiting 30 million people. In the UK, the aim is to reduce the impact of intensive farming on water quality, raise awareness of the importance of river management, and work to protect and restore freshwater habitats in line with new EU legislation. In the United States, WWF's work will focus on conserving water resources in the Rio Grande river basin on the border with Mexico. The basin is home to more than nine million people and, despite fast-growing economic activity, is one of the poorest regions in the US where many live in shanties without running water. HSBC is also committed to develop its own environmental management and sustainability systems, and to advancing sustainability principles and guidelines for the financial sector as a whole. It will be working closely with WWF on these issues. "Our partnership with HSBC is a major success for WWF and one that will have a truly global impact" declared Robert Napier. And Sir John Bond added: "We want to make a sustained difference by creating freshwater projects that wouldn't otherwise get done, or where we can accelerate the process where time is important." For more information: Tracey Spensely HSBC Marketing Communications Manager, WWF-UK Tel: +44 1483 412396 E-mail: tspensley@wwf.org.uk
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