By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Heritage Bank Plc has pledged to continue to put sustainability at the heart of its decision-making as part of its corporate social responsibility sustainability policy to achieve a healthy planet, which it says is “ the backbone of almost every industry. on earth.”
The financial institution made the pledge during an event hosted by the Lagos State Government to commemorate the celebrations of World Environment Day 2022.
The bank, for its contribution and support to environmental sustainability, especially in Lagos, was awarded the 2022 Environmental Sustainability Award.
Speaking at the specially organized event organized by the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, the Managing Director/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo congratulated the Government of State for efforts made during environmental sustainability to protect ecosystems by supporting the health and well-being of all creatures.
Mr. Sekibo, who was represented by the Chief Risk Officer, Heritage Bank, Mr. Kehinde Olugbemi, said: “As the theme of this year’s World Environment Day celebration indicates, we have no only one land”, and really, only one land to protect.
“The fact is that human well-being is closely linked to the health of the environment. And our planet is reaching a breaking point. We are beginning to see the consequences of global warming on ecosystems and communities.
Today, he said, industrialization, although positive for human well-being, has wreaked great havoc on human existence.
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), he said 24% of deaths can be attributed to preventable environmental factors, adding that Heritage Bank Plc continued to prioritize and make huge commitments in favor of environmentally sustainable practices to help build thriving communities and secure potential for future growth.
“We realized that our people and other residents needed clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, and places to live free of toxic substances and hazards.
“Thus, as part of our sustainability approach to corporate social responsibility, we have continued to place sustainability at the heart of our decision-making for the good of humanity and the bank’s bottom line. , because a healthy planet is the backbone of almost every industry on Earth,” he said.
Earlier at the event, Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said there is an urgent need for everyone to focus on the need to live sustainably with nature for the benefit of all. humanity, adding that it has become necessary to shift to a greener way of life through both policies and individual choices.
He added that environmental sustainability is one of the most pressing issues in the world today, among which the Earth faces a triple planetary emergency, namely climate change, loss of biodiversity and environmental pollution.
The Governor, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Omolaji Gaji, added that the impact of the challenges has negatively undermined the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“With nature in emergency mode, the #OnlyOneEarth campaign for World Environment Day 2022, wants us to celebrate the planet through collective environmental action,” he said.
The governor commended companies, such as Heritage Bank, for ensuring that the state’s enduring policy of entrusting the legacy of greening and restoring native trees to citizens is maintained.
Similarly, the Commissioner of Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, said that the government, through the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, has implemented several programs to mitigate these challenges through tree planting, a climate change summit, environmental bee clubs in schools. , waste of wealth and prohibition of open defecation.
Speaking through the director of the sanitation services department, Dr Hassan Sanuth, the PS added that the government responded to this call in 2021 by starting the greening of Abraham Adesanya’s retreat, as well as the restoration of some historical factories in specific places like Agege, Idi-Mangoro where mango trees were planted, Idi-Agbon in Ifako-Ijaiye where coconut trees were planted and in Lagos Island where breadfruit trees were planted at St. Paul’s Anglican Primary School, Breadfruit Lagos as part of this year’s celebration.
Guest speaker Dr. Ayo Tella, during the presentation of his paper, noted that anthropogenic effects caused by human activities such as the felling of trees have altered the earth’s natural systems and the survival of many species.
Heritage Bank previously donated plastic bins to Navy Town Secondary School, Ojo, Lagos, to mark World Earth Day, even as it embarked on a project to tackle the crisis of water, while helping to make clean, drinkable water accessible to all.
Similarly, a global open source movement known as Liter of Light Nigeria has partnered with Heritage Bank Plc to provide sustainable solar power to the community of Itomaro in Lagos State, while the bank , in 2020, was distributing more than 10,000 mosquitoes. nets to rural dwellers.