Absa has embarked on a countrywide greening initiative as part of the group’s Arbor Month project. A total of 131 schools across 9 provinces will receive indigenous trees and more than 2,200 trees will be planted by the Group’s employees.
Arbor Month seeks to highlight the importance of trees and the role they play in sustainable development and the livelihoods of people and their environment. It also encourages communities to participate in greening activities within their own surroundings and raise awareness of South Africa’s urban greening initiatives.
Absa has an extensive community investment programme with R 227 million having been invested in underprivileged, poor and rural communities between 2004 and 2008. The bank is looking to invest in excess of R 70 million in 2009 in socio-economic development initiatives across South Africa.
Paul Bayliss, Absa Corporate Social Investment manager says, “We have done a lot of work in communities from an early childhood development, maths, science and technology, health and job creation point of view - but we do not always talk loud enough about the investments we make in the environment.
“This year, Absa has again partnered with Food and Trees for Africa and have identified schools across the country that will receive trees during the week. Educators and learners will also be trained on how to take care and maintain these trees.”
Being a corporate, in any country today, necessitates a response towards various issues surrounding not just economics, but also the wellbeing of the communities in which the corporate operates in.
To become more environmentally friendly and aware, Absa has over the past year introduced electronic statements (eStatements) that are available for cheque, credit card, home loans, AVAF, and Savings and Investments accounts. These eStatement help reduce physical paper storage and is convenient and immediate.
“Apart from focusing on social issues that affect our country, Absa is committed to contributing meaningfully to the environment. We so often forget that we rely so heavily on the environment to conduct business but do minimum, if at all, to ensure that it is well-maintained and preserved,” added Bayliss.