HSBC recently launched an educational environment programme for 400 schoolchildren in five schools, namely Weddagala Maha Vidyalaya, Pothupitiya Maha Vidyalaya, Kudawa Maha Vidyalaya, Gamini Maha Vidyalaya and Thiriwanaketiya Vidyalaya, which are situated in and around the vicinity of the Sinharaja forest.
The need to conserve the Sinharaja rainforest is becoming increasingly important to Sri Lanka with climate change being seen as a serious threat to the world.
Therefore, HSBC, together with Field Orthinology Group (FOG) attached to the University of Colombo, took this initiative in order to sensitize students to the environmental issues facing the Sinharaja rainforest and to create a core group of school children dedicated to the cause of environmental conservation.
The school environmental programme will comprise an intensive one year course on environmental issues, a schools beautification programme, a schools libraries programme and many nature outings.
HSBC has always been committed towards the preservation of the environment, with HSBC staff being sent on the Homestay Programme.
This provided them with the opportunity to interact with the villagers living in the Sinharaja buffer zone, take part in their daily activities and allowed them to experience the hardships the villagers go through, while learning about the importance of the Sinharaja rainforest.
Other than for this project, HSBC has played a major role in the conservation of Horton Plains.
Collaborating with the Department for Wildlife Conservation, this project aims to keep the plains free from litter. Awareness is a major part of this campaign and the hoardings placed at strategic points around the Horton Plains bear witness to this strategy.
HSBC Group has a long standing commitment to the environment and believes climate change to be the single largest environmental challenge this century. In 2005, HSBC became the worldâ€™s first major bank to become Carbon neutral. It has also been named as the overall winner in the first FT Sustainable Banking Awards, in recognition of its leadership in merging social, environmental and business objectives.
Truly the worldâ€™s local bank, HSBC maintains a presence in 10,000 offices in 82 countries and territories worldwide. The bank has a comparably strong presence in North and South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific and declared assets of USD 1,861 billion as at 31 December 2006. HSBC is acknowledged as one of the worldâ€™s largest banking and financial services organisations.