5 December 2007

A climate change programme for China was launched in Beijing today by HSBC, the world's first carbon neutral bank, together with four global environmental organisations - The °Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). The climate change programme in China forms part of the HSBC Climate Partnership - a five year US$100 million programme to respond to the urgent threat of climate change worldwide with the same four partners - launched in May 2007.

Through its partners HSBC will reinforce the Chinese government's efforts in energy conservation and emission reduction, working together with research institutions, businesses and individuals to combat the impact of climate change on forests, freshwater, cities and people. Based on an investment of US$21.7 million, the HSBC Climate Partnership China programme expects to achieve the following results in China by 2011:

  • Forests:

Undertake research on carbon pool in subtropical and temperate forests in China to provide solid data for understanding the relationship between forests and climate change in the country. Also establish a regional research centre in China to work with Chinese scientists in studying the ecological functions of different species of trees, explore sustainable forest management model, and maximize the ecological benefits from the forestation efforts and increased forest coverage in China.

  • Freshwater:

Restore 3,000 square kilometres of wetlands in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, significantly improving the adaptability of the entire drainage area to climate change, mitigating the potential disasters brought by extreme weather conditions and providing solutions to safeguard drinking water at estuaries. Develop sustainable agriculture and fishery models and increase farmers' and fishermen's incomes while reducing the impact of agriculture and fishery on the climate.

  • Cities:

Conduct studies in Beijing, Shanghai and the Pan-Pearl River Delta region on models of energy-efficient cities, improving the resilience and adaptability of the ecological system in delta regions to climate change; coordinating with businesses and government in major cities in the development of energy conservation strategy, and building a voluntary 'carbon credit' market to partially offset carbon emissions.

  • People:

Provide specialised training for about 400 HSBC employees and 150 other stakeholders in the Asia Pacific region, encouraging them to become "Climate Champions" who will contribute to the research on the impact of climate change on the environment and participate in the energy conservation and emission reduction activities in their own workplace and communities. Also, organising various activities to engage 20 million Chinese people in the endeavours of energy conservation and carbon emission reduction.

According to Richard Yorke, President and Chief Executive Officer of HSBC in China, "Environment and sustainable development is key to HSBC's business development strategy. HSBC is proud to work together with four world class organisations to jointly explore practical measures of addressing climate change issues with the support of the government as well as the participation of enterprises and the general public."

HSBC's donation to the HSBC Climate Partnership is the largest corporate donation each of the four environmental organisations has ever received.

"One of our primary targets is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which is a major factor leading to global climate change. We hope that through our city- and regionally-focused programmes, we can provide government and corporate decision makers with solid analyses and recommendations to steer policies, investments and technologies towards a climate friendly future." said Ms Changhua Wu, Greater China Director of The °Climate Group.

"Efforts by individuals can also play a key role in protecting our planet from climate change," Nigel Winser, Executive Director of Earthwatch (Europe) said. "We believe in inspiring action, not apathy. Earthwatch's task is to bring together top scientists - HSBC staff - and local communities - to speed up the knowledge required to understand the complex issue of climate change and to make clear and firm recommendations. "

The HSBC Climate Partnership will train hundreds of Climate Champions, who will take the lead in their own communities, as well as provide opportunities for all employees from HSBC China to utilise online resources to learn about things related to climate change, and participate in the voluntary services related to climate changes.

According to Dr. Stuart Davies, Director of the Centre for Tropical Forest Sciences, STRI, "China is in the top 10 countries by forest cover and climate change is predicted to substantially affect the distribution and composition of China's natural forests, which makes it particularly critical for HSBC Climate Partnership forest research here."

The world's largest environmental protection organisation, WWF, will work on climate change impact on fresh water, especially the Yangtze River basin.

"Climate change has led to glacier degradation at the source of the Yangtze River, an increase in severe weather conditions, sea level rising and the salt water intrusion, which poses a threat to water safety for people and wildlife," said Mr. Dermot O'Gorman, the Country Representative of WWF China. "HSBC Climate Partnership has provided us a unique opportunity to improve China's sustainability against climate change through increasing the resilience and resistance of freshwater ecosystem with our joint efforts."

As part of the efforts to help address climate change, HSBC has taken the lead. In 2005 it became the first major bank - and FTSE100 company - to go carbon neutral, and was later awarded the "Sustainable Bank of the Year 2006 " by UK's Financial Times.

Media enquiries to:

HSBC (Beijing), Wang Ying +86 10 5999 8899
The °Climate Group, Lu Jin +86 10 6440 3639
Earthwatch Institute, Zoe Gamble +44 (0) 1865 318 852
STRI, Monica Alvarado +1 507 6616 4049
WWF China, Tan Rui +86 10 6522 7100 Ext. 3813

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