Standard Bank joins commemoration of World Forestry Day by promoting Green Lilongwe tree-planting drive

Nuka handing over a tree seedling

* We are determined to make our city and surrounding areas greener and environmentally sustainable

* We can make Lilongwe and Malawi green if we work together—Standard Bank’s William Nuka

By Duncan Mlanjira

Standard Bank Plc has pledged to step up efforts in mitigating the negative effects of climate change by promoting reforestation efforts through its customers and staff in line with a commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen.


The initiative is part of the activities to commemorate the International Day of Forests — or the World Forestry Day— which was observed yesterday (March 21), whose theme was ‘Forests and Innovation: New Solutions for a Better World’.

Standard Bank observed the day to encourage its customers and staff to plant trees by designating its branches as collection points for tree seedlings.

In a statement, Chief Information Officer, William Nuka said Standard Bank is determined to transform Lilongwe and Malawi into a green and environmentally vibrant landscape.

“We are determined to make our city and surrounding areas greener and environmentally sustainable,” he said. “We can make Lilongwe and Malawi green if we work together.

“At Standard Bank, we are geared to get our hands dirty today and in coming months for a better tomorrow,” he said.

The Bank has partnered with the Lilongwe City Council for the initiative, as a key player in ensuring that Lilongwe gets a green facelift with the City Council providing 1,000 tree seedlings of seven varieties — both indigenous and fruit trees to distribute on the day.


“Today, we successfully distributed 1,000 seedlings to customers and staff in Lilongwe through our six branches and service centres,” Nuka said. “This is the beginning of a larger commitment we have towards supporting the tree planting agenda for the nation.

“Lilongwe suffers a tree loss rate of around 17.5%, which is one of the highest deforestation rates in Malawi. We must take individual accountability towards planting trees and ensure every person and household has a tree. We are a partner for every Malawian that wants to see our current climate crisis eradicated.”

Nuka added that the initiative is part of efforts by the bank to contribute to the country attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals on the environment and this also aligns with the bank’s commitment as a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking (UN PRB).

“As such we are committed to ensuring that our operating strategy is consistent with and contributes to society’s needs and priorities, as expressed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), the Paris Agreement, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and sustainable banking frameworks,” he said.

Malawi is in line to earn billions of dollars from buyers of carbon credits if its citizens planted more specific trees.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed March 21 the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.

Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

The organizers are the UN Forum on Forests and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and other relevant organizations in the field.

On its website, the UN reports that innovation and technology have revolutionized forest monitoring, enabling countries to track and report on their forests more effectively.

A total of 13.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide forest emission reductions or enhancements have been reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Changethrough transparent and innovative forest monitoring.

“The battle against deforestation requires new technological advancements,” says the UN. “With 10 million hectares lost annually due to deforestation and approximately 70 million hectares affected by fires, these innovations are essential for early warning systems, sustainable commodity production, and empowering Indigenous Peoples through land mapping and climate finance access.

“Additionally, ecosystem restoration, including reforestation efforts, can significantly contribute to climate mitigation and enhance food security while pushing the boundaries of sustainable wood products and enhance food security while promoting sustainable wood products.

The UN further reports that reducing deforestation and forest degradation and restoring and sustainably managing forests are critical pathways to meet the 2030 global goals.

“Despite a slowdown in deforestation rates, over 420 million hectares of forest have vanished since 1990, with an annual loss of 10 million hectares.

“To tackle these challenges, FAO and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have jointly launched AIM4Forests — a five-year program that aims to enhance forest monitoring through modern technologies, technical innovation, and the utilization of space data and remote sensing.