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HSBC Group Donates $16 Million to Earthwatch Institute

Published 02-26-02

Submitted by HSBC Holdings PLC

Earthwatch Institute announces a $16 million grant from HSBC Group, one of the world's largest financial services organizations, to train 200 scientists and send 2,000 HSBC staff over 5 years to work on vital conservation research projects worldwide. For the full release, please see http://www.earthwatch.org. The grant is part of a $50 million eco-partnership, "Investing in Nature", to fund conservation projects around the world with the largest ever single grants to three charities, Earthwatch Institute, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGSI) and World Wildlife Fund.

Over the next five years some 2,000 HSBC staff will work alongside Earthwatch scientists on conservation projects worldwide, yielding the equivalent of 100 'man years' of critical research. This will create a network of environmental ambassadors in the Group, who will be given grants for local conservation projects when they return to their communities. The $16 million donation will also be used to train 200 young scientists around the world.

Roger Bergen, President and CEO, Earthwatch Institute International said: "This donation provides the people and the funds to help us continue our long-term support of environmental field research, while providing a unique opportunity for HSBC employees to get directly involved in conservation issues. We are delighted that HSBC is making such a significant environmental investment and believe that this program will demonstrate the positive impacts of corporate and NGO partnerships in contributing to a sustainable future for our planet."

"Companies as well as individuals have a responsibility for the stewardship of this planet, which we hold in trust for the future," said HSBC Chairman Sir John Bond, at the launch of Investing in Nature in London. "If we don't act now, by 2025 over 60 percent of the world's population could face a water shortage. We are also facing a global extinction crisis with thousands of species and habitats under threat.

"With WWF, BGCI and Earthwatch, Investing in Nature will breathe new life into rivers, protect endangered species, and fund conservation research and education around the world. Our investment is not simply financial -- 2,000 staff will take part in fieldwork and become environmental champions within the [HSBC] Group."

Five US-based HSBC employees have already been assigned to Earthwatch field projects. Rochester, NY-based Diane Abbott heads to the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil in March; David Brooks from Fairport, NY fields with a Mountain Elk reintroduction project in Kentucky in May; Gino Gonzalez from Sherman Oaks, CA returns from Angkor, Thailand this month, and Buffalo, NY based Timothey O'Brien has just returned from a study of mountain lions in Idaho.

Earthwatch Institute (www.earthwatch.org) is an international nonprofit organization that supports scientific field research worldwide by offering members of the public unique opportunities to work alongside leading field scientists and researchers. The Institute's mission is to promote sustainable conservation of our natural resources and cultural heritage by creating partnerships among scientists, educators and the general public. The organization works with many major, multinational corporations including Duke Energy, Ford Motor Company, Johnson & Johnson, Pitney Bowes, Royal Dutch/Shell, Starbucks Coffee Company, and Verizon.

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