HSBC Eco-Schools Climate Initiative

The HSBC Eco-Schools Climate Initiative was launched in Malta on the 17th November 2009 during a tree planting activity at Xrobb l-Għaġin Nature Park and Sustainable Development Centre. Through this event climate change becomes an international theme for schools supported by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

In the first phase Eco-Schools from Brazil, China, England, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Malta, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, United States and Wales took part in this initiative by exploring ways how they can contribute to combating climate change by reducing their CO2 emissions.

Ms Sally Robson, HSBC Malta Chief Operating Officer and Mr Vincent Attard, President of Nature Trust Malta

HSBC Malta, HSBC’s chief operating officer Sally Robson, in partnership with EkoSkola, the Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs and the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education and Directorate for Educational Services within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, commemorated this official launch with a Tree planting activity. About 300 children from 8 schools attended the event that also provided opportunities to investigate the surroundings through treasure hunts and through on site walks both organised by the EkoSkola teachers.

For the first year, all the 56 participating schools organised a great deal of initiatives targeting Climate Change. These activities targeted school children and teachers and also parents and the local community.

One such activity involved 35 HSBC staff members who volunteered to visit schools and give a presentation about Climate Change. About 37 primary and secondary schools were visited. Mr Johann Gatt, one of the EkoSkola teachers, also gave several sessions to various kindergarten and Years 1 and 2 classes of primary schools. There are still some upcoming events in the pipeline … like a half day seminar for teachers, a newsletter with information about climate change, community based activities, the publication of the winners of the Eco-Code competition and the EkoSkola Parliament Session.

June 2010 update…

A whole year of activities revolving around climate change was brought to a conclusion with a whole day seminar held at Paradise Bay Hotel on Saturday 19th June 2010. The seminar was officially opened by Mr Vincent Attard, the NTM Executive President and FEE National Coordinator. He said that Nature Trust’s co-ordination of the EkoSkola programme is proof that environmental education was always at the heart of the NGO’s activity. This internationally monitored programme is all about empowering children and is based on Local Agenda 21 principles. Malta’s EkoSkola success story was conducive to Malta being selected as one of the 11 countries participating in the HSBC-ES Climate Initiative. HSBC Climate Champion, Mr Joe Debono, gave feedback about the climate change action within HSBC together with their role in this initiative, particularly the presentations they did in schools. Besides gathering feedback he also explored future project possibilities with schools. The National EkoSkola Coordinator, Prof Paul Pace, discussed the implications of climate change education. Citing local research results he emphasised the need to focus educational experiences related to climate change to the learners’ experiences. A short presentation by the Mr David M. Caruana, EkoSkola teacher, dealt about Climate Change related activities and resources. Workshop groups concluded the first part of the seminar during which teachers shared examples of good practice and plans of how they intend to follow up next year. The afternoon session was coloured by school exhibits showing the work done throughout the year and the posters participating in the Eco-Code competition. Winners and participants where rewarded with an eco-gift that will help schools keep track of their energy consumption. HSBC Malta Climate Change Coordinator, Mr Martin Scicluna, distributed the prizes in the presence of teachers, students and parents. The winning Eco-Code poster for the Primary Section was designed by Kelly-Marie Zammit Gauci whilst the Eco-Code poster for the Secondary Section was designed by Leanne Coleiro from St Joseph, Mater Boni Consilii School, Paola. The winning Eco-Codes also participated in the international competition.  The latter came second in the Youth’s Category.

Eco-Code poster for the Primary Section was designed by Kelly-Marie Zammit Gauci

 Eco-Code poster for the Secondary Section was designed by Leanne Coleiro from St Joseph, Mater Boni Consilii School, Paola.

The success in this pilot phase of the project led to Malta applying for the second phase of the project for the scholastic year 2010-2011…

November 2010 update…

For the second cycle of the HSBC Eco-Schools Climate Initiative besides the Eco-Code Climate Competition, this year schools will be offered funds to develop community based projects related to climate change. There are 18 participating countries: Brazil, China, England, France, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malta, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Wales). Participating schools will explore issues related to Climate Change through the following themes: energy, transport, waste, water, biodiversity, global citizenship and healthy living. Participating in the project is easy because it involves going through the EkoSkola 7 steps with an emphasis on Climate Change issues. Participating schools will receive educational material that will help them in their tasks.

February 2011 update…

Fifty-six schools have registered for this year’s project. Following a call during which twenty schools communicated their project proposals, the following ten schools were awarded funds as part of the School-Community Link Project Grant Scheme:

School Project Title
St Francis Sec. School, Sliema Hooked On Energy
Gozo College, Xewkija Primary Informing the community about climate change
St Benedict College, Safi Primary The Recycled Green House: a School Project for the community
St. Benedict’s College, Zurrieq Primary Climate Challenge? Climb It!
St George Preca College, Floriana Primary To promote and encourage recycling to save the planet
St.George Preca College, Paola Primary A Walking Bus Project
St Joseph School, Blata l-Bajda, Primary Enough for Everyone for All Ages
St Margaret College, Girls’ Secondary School, Cospicua Ftit Ħsieb għall-Komunità Aħjar
St Margaret College, Kalkara Primary Sustainable Garden
St Theresa College, St Venera Primary Better light a candle than curse the darkness

The project was officially launched during a ceremony held on February 4th, 2011. Vince Attard (Nature Trust President), Prof Paul Pace (National EkoSkola Coordinator), the Hon. George Pullicino (Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs) and Alan Richards (HSBC Malta CEO) addressed all those present, highlighting the major achievements reported by schools in the first cycle of the project. Mr Richards presented Leanne Coleiro from St Joseph, Mater Boni Consilii School Paola the prize money she won for placing second in the international Eco-Code competition for youths.

Project launch ceremony during which Leanne Coleiro  who placed second in the international Eco-Code competition met HSBC Malta CEO Alan Richards (left) and Resources and Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino

June 2011 update…

The much awaited Annual EkoSkola parliamentary session was held on 8 June at the House of Representatives for the seventh consecutive year. This event is organized by Nature Trust (Malta), who run the Eco-Schools programme, under the auspices of the Office of the Speaker. This year’s event was a particularly special one as this year marks the 90th anniversary of the setting up of the House of Representatives.

This event brought together students participating in the local EkoSkola programme and the country’s main policy makers. The theme for this year’s session was Climate Change. This session was the culmination of the HSBC-EcoSchools Climate Initiative that promoted school-based initiatives aimed at combating Climate Change by reducing emissions from schools and homes. Fifty-six Maltese schools participated in this international project involving 18 different countries (including Malta).

Students recited the opening prayer and presented a motion by EkoSkola. These were followed by interventions from ten schools who presented a report of their respective School-Community Link Project. An offshoot of the HSBC-EcoSchools Climate Initiative, these School-Community Link Projects were set up to financially support schools in their plans to initiate community based sustainability projects targeting Climate Change. Schools were invited to come up with original, innovative projects that demonstrate how their school can become a hub of Climate Change action by working with and within their local communities.

The implemented projects included various community awareness raising initiatives about energy and water consumption; walking bus; waste management; production of audio-visual media; development of sustainable spaces; healthy lifestyles and intergenerational joint initiatives. Besides presenting an array of examples of good practice, students urged the Members of Parliament to support them in ensuring a good quality of life for their future.

The parliamentary sitting was chaired by the Hon. Speaker, Dr Michael Frendo. A total of twenty one MPs attended the session. Forty six schools were hosted, ten of which gave their proposals to the House.

Parliament session: Group photo of students and MPs attending the EkoSkola Parliament about climate change proposing the community projects as sponsored by the HSBC Eco-schools Climate Initiative.

November 2011 update…

We are happy to announce that Malta’s application for the 3rd Cycle of the HSBC-ES Climate Initiative has been approved. Once again Malta will be joining other countries in mobilising students for action against Climate Change in their school and the community.

As in previous years schools will be invited to participate in the project. Participation will again involve different levels: following the EkoSkola 7-steps with an emphasis on Climate Change issues; participation in the Eco-Code Competition; and the organisation of school led climate change related projects in the community. So, if you’re interested in participating, start thinking about how you intend to take part and make the necessary preparation to avoid disappointment.

Part of last year’s project involved a poster competition of the various Eco-Code posters produced in the different schools. Only 6 entries made it on time for the judging and from these two posters were declared winners:

Children’s Section:

Sharona Debono; Martina Demicoli; Michela Farrugia; Mariana Mifsud and Nikki Ann Zammit from St Clare College San Gwann Primary B.


Youth’s Section:

Jonathan Richard Young from Sacred Heart Minor Seminary – Gozo.

These two posters represented Malta in the international competition held during the National Operators Meeting held in Krakow, Poland (26th-30th October, 2011) … and managed to get the third and first prize in the respective categories. This means that the winning schools will get $500 and $1000 prize money respectively. Congratulations!

January 2012 updateHSBC-ES Climate Initiative – 3rd Cycle 

Scholastic Year 2011-2012

A total of 44 schools are participating in this year’s edition of the HSBC-ES Climate Initiative. As in the previous year, an essential part of the initiative involves the School-Community Link project that provides schools with monetary grants to plan and implement community-based projects related to Climate Change. The HSBC-ES Steering committee received 21 Expressions of Interest from different schools and, after studying each proposal in detail, decided to sponsor the following 12 projects:
· Show you care be aware (Gozo College, Nadur Primary)
· Water…Taken for granted? (Gozo College, Girls’ Secondary)
· Minimizing Climatic Changes Through Water-saving Activities (Gozo College, San Lawrenz Primary)
· The Eco Friendly Garden Path (St Benedict College, Kirkop Primary)
· A Safi Village Literacy Community Eco-Garden and Water Conservation Park (St Benedict College, Safi Primary)
· Take care of your Environment and it will take care of you (St Benedict College, Zurrieq Primary)
· Climate Change in Colours (St Edward’s College)
· Maximizing Sustainable Use of Rainwater (St Francis School, B’Kara)
· Fair and Square (St Joseph School, Blata l-Bajda)
· Our Kitchen Garden – a great starting place (St Joseph Junior School, Sliema)
· How can changes in the way we consume contribute to our health and a better environment (St Nicholas College, Rabat GSS)
· Eco-Kara (St Therese College, B’Kara Primary)

Eco-Code Competition
As in previous years, schools participating in the HSBC-ES Climate Initiative are invited to take part in the Eco-Code Competition. Information about participation follows:

Closing date: Friday, 27th April 2012. Any entries received after that date will not be considered.
Prizes: Winners will be announced by the second week of May. Decisions of the Jury will be final. The winning students (in both categories), accompanied by their teachers, will be awarded a visit to Ireland!

May 2012 update

The 3rd cycle of the HSBC-ES Climate Initiative is nearing its completion. Schools have been busy developing activities that enhance the students’ awareness of Climate Change.
In particular, twelve schools have taken this initiative further by engaging in projects that saw the school working with the surrounding community on projects aimed at familiarising their locality with climate change issues. Most of these projects are now being concluded. To celebrate these achievements Nature Trust and HSBC Malta Foundation organised a project information
meeting at Xrobb l-Għagin Nature Park and Sustainable Development Centre during which highlights of the projects were presented to the attendees.
Mr Francis Sullivan, HSBC’s Advisor on the Environment, Mr Mark Watkinson, HSBC Malta’s CEO and the Hon. George Pullicino, Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs attended the meeting and addressed the audience. They all commended the schools’ commitment towards sustainable development and recommended EkoSkola as a project that tangibly integrates sustainable development issues into students’ lives. During the
event Mr Watkinson presented the prizes for last year’s Eco-Code Competition.
We are also happy to announce that for this year’s Eco-Code Competition we had 18 entries (13 for the Juniors Section and 5 for the Seniors Section). The quality of the entries was rather high and the judges had quite a hard task to determine the winners.
The final decision was: Jade and Julia Bonello from Maria Regina College, Naxxar Primary won the Juniors Section, while Daena Marie Constantine from St Benedict College, Tarxien Girls’ Secondary won the Seniors Section. Congratulations!


Winning posters in the Juniors’ Section and Seniors’ Section respectively

A visit to Northern Ireland

As promised, the Eco-Code winners and the EkoSkola Link person at their school were taken to a visit to Northern Ireland.  The visit took place during the second week of September.
Daena Marie Constantine and Ms Rita Buhagiar from St Benedict College Tarxien Girls Secondary School together with Jade and Julia Bonello and Ms Sylvana Bonello from Maria Regina College Naxxar Primary School were accompanied by Ms Elizabeth Agius and Ms Marvic Refalo, EkoSkola Coordinators.  The visit was excellently coordinated with the help of the Northern Ireland EcoSchools Team, namely Ms Carmel Fyfe, Ms Vanessa McDonnell, Mr Paul Johnson and Dr Ian Humphreys. The group had the opportunity to visit three local Green Flag Schools: two Primary – Brooklands Primary School and Ballymoney Model Controlled Integrated Primary School and one Secondary, the Assumption Grammar School, a girls’ secondary catholic school.  In each school the group shared eco experiences and information about intiatives. They were also shown around the schools by the eco-committees and even had a special assembly about Malta in one of them.

Apart from the school visits, we were also given the opportunity to visit a traditional candy shop and W5 – an interactive discovery centre encouraging learning and imagination. A surprise trekking experience in Tollymore Forest and a visit to the Giant’s Causeway, a world heritage site and nature at its best, was the cherry on the cake. It was a truly 5-day educational visit and made the participation in the HSBC-ES Climate Initiative Eco-Code competition something worth doing!

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