Johannesburg, 15 september 2010. first national bank (fnb) credit card and cheque account divisions in collaboration with food & trees for africa (ftfa) are today planting 570 trees in the lehae community in soweto.
Lucas Radebe, former captain of Bafana Bafana and a close friend of the bank, eagerly rolled up his sleeves and jumped in to assist the community to plant their trees. A further 2 280 trees will be planted in Lehae during September, Arbor Month. Another 1 150 trees will be planted in the Hammarsdale and Delft communities during the month of October.
FNB Credit Card and FNB Cheque Accounts engaged in this initiative beginning last July by urging customers to sign up to receive statements via email. For every 50 customers that signed up, the two divisions donated a tree.
‘We are proud to be part of an initiative that encourages the preservation of the environment. Not only will this project contribute towards a greener environment, but it also promotes skills development and food provision among community members.’ says Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Cheque Accounts and CIO of FNB.
The trees, that will be planted through FTFA’s Trees for Homes programme, are not only indigenous, but are also fruit bearing to provide a degree of food security. Furthermore, for every 50 trees planted, a community member will be trained as a Community Based Educator (CBE) to spread awareness of the benefits of greening, climate change and environmental upliftment in their communities. These CBE’s also help with the tree distributions and report back on the tree growth and maintenance over a six month period. This is thus a skills development programme that offers short term employment.
To date, 4 000 trees have been donated to plant in various communities that have applied to FTFA for help to green their settlements. ‘The customers that switched to email statements represent substantial carbon savings. According to our Carbon Calculator, FNB’s reduction of 1 529 reams of paper per month or 18 348 reams per year equates to 45.87 tons of paper, from2 184.3 trees, not to mention the additional carbon savings from postage and delivery of statements,’ says Jeunesse Park, Founder of FTFA.
Established in 1990, FTFA is a South African social enterprise that realises sustainable development through greening, climate change action, sustainable natural resource management and permaculture food security programmes. FTFA has distributed over 3.6 million trees, facilitated the creation of over 2 500 organic food gardens for the poorest in South Africa and launched the first carbon calculator and the Carbon Standard (now the Carbon Protocol) in this country.
‘We hope that this project will inspire other corporates to follow in our footsteps to promote a more sustainable future,’ said Makanjee.