First Bank of Nigeria Limited, last week, kick-started its 50,000 tree planting campaign as part of activities to mark its yearly Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week.
The initiative is in collaboration with NCF and in alignment with the Nigeria Conservation Foundation’s Forest Programme – Green Recovery Nigeria (GRN) – which is designed to help increase Nigeria’s forest cover from its current four to seven per cent to 25 per cent by 2047.
Nigeria’s forest cover, according to the Director General of NCF, Dr Joseph Onoja, was about 40 per cent before the country’s Independence but fell to below 10 per cent in recent years. He said over 235 million trees would need to be planted at the cost of over N200 billion to achieve the 25 per cent target.
Adeduntan said FirstBank would not be on the fringe in the efforts to reclaim part of the lost forest cover but would be an “integral” part of the move and would mobilise its operational bases across other African countries for the climate action.
Adeduntan, who unveiled the climate action at the Lekki Conservative Centre, Lagos at the weekend, called on other corporate organisations to toe the line, saying FirstBank would not want its input in building a sustainable development to be a drop in the ocean but desired to be an integral part of the process.
Except deliberate efforts are taken by man to protect the environment, he said, nature could get rid of man in the process of conserving itself. For the bank, he promised, it would revisit the 50,000 tree target after it is achieved as it desired an enduring partnership to preserve nature.
“It is quite significant because this is a very integral part of our own corporate responsibility and sustainability pillars. We are fully aligned with what we want to achieve as a country in terms of preserving nature and promoting the right attitude towards nature, if you don’t preserve nature, nature itself will consume you.
“We are using this opportunity to appeal to other like-minded corporate organisations that there is a need to partner with the government and organisations such as the NCF to promote this act of preserving nature… When you look at the twin problems of certification and erosion, these are major impacts of nature that are causing degradation in our environment. And the solution to them is actually in planting trees.
“So, at FirstBank, we’ve made up our mind that we will as usual because we were woven into the fabric of the society, we will be part of the finding solution, practice solution to this problem and that is why we have adopted tree planting as a very important pillar of our corporate social responsibility and sustainability,” he said.
In the past seven years, FirstBank colleagues and customers come together to participate in a global annual volunteer tagged Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness (SPARK) to give back to and foster positive change in the communities where they live and work.
The initiative has impacted over 200,000 lives across eight countries with over 103 charities supported achieving a total of 121,015 volunteer hours.