Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a member of the Standard Bank Group, is actively supporting the Green Recovery Nigeria (GRN) Programme in collaboration with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF). The aim is to elevate Nigeria’s forest cover from its current meagre 5 per cent to the recommended 25 per cent of national land cover by 2050, as advised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
In a significant ceremony held recently at the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC), nestled within the heart of Lagos, and serving as the NCF’s headquarters, Stanbic IBTC reaffirmed its commitment to this crucial initiative. Enhancing the nation’s forest cover not only grants access to valuable forest resources and sustenance but also fosters heightened biodiversity and curbs the transmission of zoonotic diseases between wildlife and humans.
The tree planting ceremony was led by Dr. Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, accompanied by Mrs. Tosin Leye-Odeyemi, Head of Sustainability, Risk, and Capital Management at Stanbic IBTC, among other distinguished guests.
Dr. Sogunle emphasised that this tree-planting initiative aligns seamlessly with Stanbic IBTC’s core values, which encompass a profound commitment to social, environmental, and economic impact within society. He went on to assure that Stanbic IBTC would complete the ambitious tree planting program across 10 states of the federation namely- Edo, Ogun, Katsina, Ebonyi, Plateau, Rivers, Cross River, Taraba, Jigawa, and Yobe of Nigeria by the close of 2023, with a target of 3,000 trees in each state. He remarked, “We are initiating this tree planting drive as the first of many going forward.”
Dr Sogunle continued, “Stanbic IBTC remains steadfast in addressing climate change issues and creating a hospitable environment for all Nigerians.”
Dr. Joseph Onoja, Director General of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, commended Stanbic IBTC for its commendable efforts, expressing hope that both public and corporate entities in Nigeria will follow suit and engage in large-scale tree planting initiatives across the country’s geopolitical zones. He further articulated, “I recommend this practice to every Nigerian; planting trees plays an essential role in our ecosystem and contributes significantly to a sustainable and healthier planet.”
Representing the Honourable Commissioner of Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab was, Deputy Director, Conservation and Ecology of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Olabode Adeola who emphasised the necessity of citizen involvement in this endeavour. He advocated for citizens to plant trees in their own spaces, cultivate rooftop gardens, and participate in community gardening projects to make a substantial impact.
Mr Adeola also underlined the significance of collaboration between State Governments and financial institutions like Stanbic IBTC. He stated, “In addition to individual efforts, State Governments must collaborate with financial institutions like Stanbic IBTC. By partnering with these stakeholders, we can develop innovative solutions, share resources, and create a collective impact that will transform our city into an oasis of green.”
The tree planting ceremony at the Lekki Conservation Centre was graced by the presence of the management staff of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, further underscoring the collaborative spirit behind this commendable effort to enhance Nigeria’s forest cover and promote a more sustainable and biodiverse future.
Stanbic IBTC’s dedication to environmental sustainability, as evidenced by this initiative, highlights its commitment to a greener and more prosperous Nigeria. This remarkable undertaking aligns with global efforts to combat climate change, safeguard biodiversity, and create a healthier, more habitable planet for current and future generations.