Throughout history Sri Lanka has always been dependent on its natural resources – its forests, agricultural lands and home gardens. However due to socio-economic pressures the forest cover in Sri Lanka has reportedly decreased from an estimated 84% of land area in 1886 to 23% (1.48 million ha) in 1992.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has reported that the earth’s net forest loss per day is 20,000 hectares which adds up to 7.3 million hectares per year.
Hatton National Bank PLC (HNB) has always taken its role as a responsible corporate citizen seriously and has invested considerably for this cause. In incorporating environmental policies into lending, customer and supplier assessment the bank influences its suppliers and customers to engage in activities that are eco friendly. All HNB employees too have committed to a ‘Green Pledge’ to engage in eco friendly activities.
Managing Director/CEO R. Theagarajah in a statement said: “Considering that in one year, an average tree inhales 12 kilograms of carbon dioxide and exhales enough oxygen for a family of four for a year, we decided to commemorate World Environment Day in 2011 by engaging in tree planting initiatives. Further, from last year we have been very conscious about the amount of paper that is being used at the bank and have been engaged in many tree planting initiatives. We intend to plant nearly 18,300 trees throughout the country through this activity this year.”
The programme will be implemented with the assistance of the HNB staff, customers and school children. The bank will be donating a sapling to each staff, selected customers and 10 saplings each to the 330 schools where the bank has implemented various CSR programmes such as libraries and computer centres as well as the schools where the bank has established student savings units.
“Unlike our previous efforts at tree planting the benefits of this initiative would be two-fold. Whilst attempting to reduce our carbon footprint we also intend to create awareness about home gardening too. Home gardening has always been recommended to reduce the pressure on the natural supply of resources and we have made special efforts to supply saplings that could be grown at home. Further home gardening reduces land fill as it encourages people to recycle waste as compost. Involving our staff and customers and our children we hope to create awareness about the importance of protecting and nurturing our trees to combat climate change and improve our environment. Though ambitious, this aim is ultimately achievable – but only if we work together. From banks, companies, farmers to communities and schools we all have a role to play and at HNB we lead from the front in creating awareness about environmental considerations,” said J.R.P.M. Paiva, Deputy General Manager, Human Resources & Admin.