At a landfill site in Togo’s capital Lomé, commonly referred to as the “Paris of West Africa”, Ecobank, the leading pan-African banking group, vowed to plant trees across all 35 countries of its pan-African footprint. This commitment was made to demonstrate the bank’s devotion to help save the planet in support of World Environment Day, the United Nation’s annual vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment. In addition to the trees that will be planted, local authorities will receive donations of garden implements to help nurture and grow planted seedlings on behalf of Ecobank.
Conceived at a meeting of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce in Mali in 1972, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated established as a bank holding company in 1985. One of its main aims was to fill the gap where commercial banks in West Africa that were actually owned and managed by the African private sector were a rarity. The idea of sustainability is imperative to the bank, as its long-term success is intertwined with the sustainable development of the economies, societies, and environment in which it operates.
Group CEO of Ecobank Ade Adeyemi expressed the bank’s dedication to making a significant impact in the protection of Africa’s tomorrow saying “Ecobank’s presence across 36 African countries gives us many advantages but it also imposes on us a huge corporate responsibility. It is absolutely right that we demonstrate our passion for preserving the environment for future generations through our actions as opposed to just mere words”.
This comes at a time where the current state of the environment is in a crisis, as according to www.RAN.com, an estimate of around 3.5 to 7 billion trees are cut down every year, which environmental experts argue has devastating consequences. Deforestation has numerous repercussions including climate change, fewer crops, flooding as well as a host of problems for many indigenous groups. This is part of the reason Ecobank’s ‘Planting Today. Protecting Tomorrow’ initiative is quite possibly the perfect example set for other West African corporations to play their part in helping save the planet.
Commenting on the importance of the initiative, Adeyemi said: “As a pan-African bank we strive to give back to our communities, to society, and to the environment as a core tenet of our culture. Our ‘Planting Today. Protecting Tomorrow’ initiative is part of our strategy to make a real difference and to ensure that we save the planet for all future generations: for everybody’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”
This is, however, not the first time Ecobank have made successful efforts to demonstrate how integral their social responsibilities are to the bank’s ethos. Ecobank Day, for example, sees the bank once again giving back to its communities through annual voluntary work in all 36 of its countries. The most recent Ecobank day that took place on the customary first Saturday of October in 2017 focused on ‘Safe Water, Healthy Living’ drawing much-needed attention to the lack of safe clean water, a crisis affecting millions of Africans. The day consisted of over 10,000 hours of volunteering completed by staff.