HSBC, Star honour climate heroes | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 02, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 02, 2010

HSBC, Star honour climate heroes

Three climate champions -- (from left) KM Rezaul Hasanat, Aneire Ehmar Khan and M Matiul Islam pose with the crests at the HSBC-The Daily Star Climate Awards 2010 ceremony at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital yesterday. The fourth recipient of the award Md Abdus Samad, deputy commissioner of Satkhira, is absent.Photo: STAR

HSBC and The Daily Star yesterday awarded four champions of green vision amid calls for using Bangladesh's own resources in efforts to tackle the impacts of climate change.
Environmentalists, ministers, civil society members and business leaders gathered at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital to attend the HSBC-The Daily Star Climate Awards 2010, the first of its kind in the country.
The awards were designed in four categories: climate change adaptation, mitigation, research and knowledge management, and green business entrepreneurship.
One individual and three institutions were awarded for their distinguished efforts in combating the global threat.
The Satkhira district administration won the award in Climate Change Adaptation category for excavating the Morrichap river, which had been dead for the last 15 years and responsible for massive waterlogging in three upazilas of the district.
Deputy Commissioner Md Abdus Samad had single-handedly led the efforts to excavate the river.
Industrial and Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IIDFC) Ltd won the award in climate change mitigation category for financing the country's first green brick project. It helped introduce a technology that uses 50 percent less energy in making bricks.
IIDFC Chairman M Matiul Islam received the award on behalf of the company.
Aneire Ehmar Khan, a researcher from Imperial College, UK, was awarded in the climate change research and knowledge management category for her research on links between salinity in coastal areas and health, especially of women.
Viyellatex Group, a leading apparel company, won the Green Business Entrepreneurship Award for adopting green and energy-saving technology in manufacturing garments. KM Rezaul Hasanat, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, received the award on the company's behalf.
The Daily Star and HSBC jointly organised the award ceremony with the objective to encourage individuals and institutions work to take on the climate-change challenge.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, who attended the function as the chief guest, said countries like Bangladesh bear the brunt when developed countries do most of the emission.
She said Bangladesh should start dealing with the challenges of the global climate change using its own capabilities.
"They [rich countries] speak of assisting the poor and vulnerable countries for facing the challenges but they hardly come forward in reality. Their statements are nothing but rhetoric."
"We will welcome support and assistance. We, however, will not sit idle and lark for assistance. Not being depressed, we have already taken steps," said the minister.
Matia also disclosed some of her government's plans including dredging 'dead rivers', and developing saline and drought tolerant rice, wheat and maize to face the challenges emanating from the global danger.
She praised HSBC and The Daily Star for coming up with such an innovative idea and raising public awareness about the severe impacts of climate change.
Teresa PY Au, head of Corporate Sustainability, HSBC Asia Pacific, said climate change is at the top of the agenda in the Asia Pacific region due to the region's vulnerability to this global threat.
"The business community should integrate the demand of the markets in operating their business," she said.
Syeda Rizwana Hassan, a member of the jury that chose the winners, said, "When we talk about climate change we always talk about the horrors of the issue; we don't talk much about addressing the issue on our own and with our own resources."
She said addressing this global issue would be challenging. "We all need to work together to make development more sustainable for the benefit of all," said Rizwana, also the chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association.
Maqsood Sinha, executive director of Waste Concern, the knowledge partner for the award, termed the winners champions in taking on the climate-change challenges. He said the government cannot address the issue alone.
"The government should provide proper incentives and policy to encourage the private sector in taking steps that will reduce their carbon footprint," he said.
Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, said Bangladesh in its history has faced numerous difficulties from nature, and political, economic and cultural fronts. "But the difficulties we are going to face due to climate change will be different from them...
"We will face acute difficulties in the coming years, so we have to prepare in a different way," he said.
He said Bangladesh is a country most vulnerable to climate change, so it has to tackle the issue with its own resources. "Financial and technological support will come from global development partners but we will not be able to take on the challenges if we don't help ourselves."
Sanjay Prakash, chief executive of HSBC Bangladesh, said many individuals and establishments are working to combat the issue but their efforts are not adequate.
He said there is no doubt that climate change would win over us. "But the question is by what margin."
"We need to do everything in a more responsible way to protect the environment, not just for ourselves but also for the future generations," Prakash said.
The award-winners thanked HSBC and The Daily Star for taking up such an initiative, which according to them would encourage many others to get involved in activities that help save the environment.

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