The bank has committed to becoming carbon neutral and last month it set up the HSBC Climate Partnership to tackle climate change. Further long-term CSR initiatives are understood to be in the pipeline for 2007.
Open Road is charged with building support for the bank’s corporate responsibility initiatives in the UK. The agency was hired after carrying out an audit of perceptions of HSBC among UK and EU opinion formers earlier this year.
Peter Bull, manager of HSBC in the Community, said Open Road would initially focus the on HSBC Climate Partnership. He said: ‘This is a major investment for us in the vital area of climate change and we want to make sure that our communications around corporate responsibility with our UK stakeholders are as effective as possible.’
Open Road chief executive Graham McMillan said the agency would also work on other CSR initiatives.
The HSBC Climate Partnership was announced on May 30 and brings together the Climate Group, the Earthwatch Institute, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the WWF – four organisations seeking to address the global causes and effects of climate change.
HSBC has pledged $100m (£50m) to the fund in what it said was the biggest ever donation made by a British company.
Over the next five years, the money will fund a range of projects including schemes to protect the Yangtze river and the world’s rainforests, as well as work on how the world’s largest cities can adapt to climate change.
The biggest beneficiaries of the donation are WWF and Earthwatch, who will each receive $35m to spend on projects.