Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a member of the Standard Bank Group, has thrown its weight behind the Green Recovery Nigeria (GRN) Programme in collaboration with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) to elevate Nigeria’s forest cover from its current meager 5% to the recommended 25% of national land cover by 2050, as advised by the Food and Agriculture Organization.
In a significant event held on September 29, 2023, at the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) in Lagos, which also serves as the headquarters of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Stanbic IBTC reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to a vital cause. This initiative aims to not only increase the country’s forest coverage but also to provide access to valuable forest resources, promote biodiversity, and mitigate the transmission of zoonotic diseases between wildlife and humans.
The tree planting ceremony was led by Dr. Demola Sogunle, the Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, accompanied by Mrs. Tosin Leye-Odeyemi, who serves as the Head of Sustainability, Risk, and Capital Management at Stanbic IBTC, alongside other distinguished guests.
Dr. Sogunle emphasized that this tree-planting initiative seamlessly aligns with Stanbic IBTC’s core values, which include a deep commitment to creating social, environmental, and economic impacts within society. He also assured that Stanbic IBTC is dedicated to completing an ambitious tree planting program in 10 states across Nigeria, namely Edo, Ogun, Katsina, Ebonyi, Plateau, Rivers, Cross River, Taraba, Jigawa, and Yobe, by the end of 2023. The goal is to plant 3,000 trees in each state, marking the beginning of a series of such initiatives.
Dr. Sogunle reiterated, “We are launching this tree planting campaign as the first of many to come. Stanbic IBTC remains resolute in addressing climate change issues and creating a conducive environment for all Nigerians.”
Dr. Joseph Onoja, Director General of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, praised Stanbic IBTC for its commendable efforts and expressed hope that both public and corporate entities in Nigeria would follow suit by engaging in large-scale tree planting initiatives across the country’s various regions. He emphasized, “I recommend this practice to every Nigerian, as planting trees plays a crucial 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 Mr. Olabode Adeola, Deputy Director of Conservation and Ecology at the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources. Mr. Adeola underscored the importance of citizen involvement in this endeavor and encouraged individuals to plant trees in their own spaces, nurture rooftop gardens, and participate in community gardening projects to make a substantial impact.
Mr. Adeola also highlighted 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, pool resources, and collectively make a transformative impact that will turn our city into a green oasis.”
The tree planting ceremony at the Lekki Conservation Centre received the support and presence of the management staff of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, 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 demonstrated by this initiative, underscores its commitment to a greener and more prosperous Nigeria. This significant endeavor aligns with global efforts to combat climate change, safeguard biodiversity, and create a healthier, more habitable planet for both current and future generations.