Equity Group has announced plans to implement an ambitious project to plant 35 million trees across the country within a year. The announcement was made on the bank’s 35th anniversary and comes on the backdrop of a brand refresh by the financial institution.
Led by the Group CEO and Managing Director, Dr. James Mwangi, Equity kick started the project by planting 3,500 indigenous tree seedlings in Miotoni Forest block which is part of the Ngong Forest Complex.
“At Equity, we are very keen on promoting sustainable finance by concentrating on people and planet as we conduct our business.In an effort to conserve the environment, Equity has partnered with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to promote farm forestry Initiatives – this spirit of public private partnerships (PPP) is informed by the fact that 77 % of deforestation and land degradation is caused by agriculture activities, hence the need to work closely with forest and farm producers to encourage them to adopt sustainable solutions for preserving natural environments,” said Dr. Mwangi during the event.
Through the Presidency, the Kenyan government has declared its intention to plant 2 billion trees within the next three years. This is in a bid to increase the country’s contribution towards addressing climate change. It is also an opportunity to engage the youth in environmental conservation. Through tree planting and maintenance activities, they can also generate some income.
The initiative is also aligned to the Kenya’s Big Four Agenda on food security and youth employment. Most of these trees will have commercial value. The project will also empower the youth who will be tasked with raising high quality tree seedlings in nurseries in order to generate income.
Equity Group has partnered with KFS in this noble initiative. KFS will provide technical support including: identification of hotspots that require urgent tree cover, rehabilitation of degraded forests, mapping out agro-ecological zones and identification of suitable tree species for planting, identification of high-quality tree seedlings stocks across the country, as well as support by KFS officers and staff at local levels to supervise proper planting and maintenance of the trees.
Equity supports transition to clean energy that reduces reliance on wood fuel, charcoal and fossils fuels like kerosene as a source of energy. This has a direct impact on health outcomes through reduction in household air pollution, positive impact on the environment, reduction in carbon footprint and climate change mitigation. To date, over 100,000 clean energy products have been financed and distributed, benefiting over 300,000 individuals. To reach a larger scale and create more impact, the bank also created the world’s first energy loan dubbed Eco- Moto Loan available digitally via its mobile network, Equitel. This is in support of United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7: access to clean and affordable energy for all.
Equity has other ongoing initiatives in the energy and environment space that have seen it plant more than 1 million trees in the Mau Water Tower.
According to scientists, planting trees is one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis. It is also fundamental to the survival of forest-dwellers that are important providers of ecosystem services, including maintaining, restoring soil fertility, protecting watersheds and water courses.
“There is an opportunity for us to scale-up the footprint of our contribution in making the environment green, supporting transitions to clean energy and increasing fruit productivity. It is in this regard that we are proposing to unlock our infrastructure to leverage on ongoing and proposed government initiatives,” noted Dr. Mwangi.