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HSBC and WWF: our new partnership to protect some of the world’s most important rivers

11 June 2012

We’re going to be doing even more to protect the world’s most threatened rivers – and the people and species who depend on them – thanks to our new partnership with HSBC.

We’re delighted to be part of the just-launched HSBC Water Programme, which will bring together expertise from WWF, WaterAid and Earthwatch over the next five years to protect the world’s water supplies and river basins, educate people about saving water, and give a million people access to safe water and better sanitation.

Our role in the partnership is crucial. We’re going to be working with more than 100,000 fishers and farmers, and 1,000 businesses, to help them use water more efficiently. We’ll also be advising governments worldwide about how to manage water better. We’re going to focus on five vital river basins: the Yangtze, the Ganges, the Mekong, the Pantanal and the African Rift Valley.

This work couldn’t be more important. “Our recent figures show that freshwater ecosystems have declined by up to 70% since 1970,” said our Chief Executive David Nussbaum. “This demonstrates why it is so important for us to take action to protect our freshwater resources now.”

Massive economic benefits of protecting river basins

The partnership comes at the same time as a new HSBC and Frontier Economics report showing that protecting the world’s 10 most populated river basins would have massive economic benefits for the people living in them.

By 2050, these river basins have the potential to be thriving economically, producing a quarter of the world’s gross domestic product. That would be more than the economies of the US, Japan and Germany combined. They produce just 10% at the moment.

But the report shows that this is unlikely to happen unless they improve the way they manage water. Without better progress, water will be extremely scarce, and businesses won’t be able to thrive.

“Our report shows that the future of river basins is critical for global economic growth,” said HSBC Group Chairman Douglas Flint. “Rapid, collaborative action worldwide is needed to improve water resource management in river basins. The HSBC Water Programme will benefit communities in need, and enable economies to prosper.”

Find out more about what we’re doing to protect the world’s rivers and lakes 


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A water’s eye view of the River Kennet, England