Heritage Bank Plc Managing Director/CEO Ifie Sekibo has championed environmental sustainability initiatives by governments, business organizations and citizens to help tackle climate change in the country.
Sekibo, who made the statement while receiving the 2022 Heritage Bank-winning Environmental Sustainability Award at a program organized by the Lagos State Government to celebrate this year’s Workd Environment Day in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, recently noted that while industrialization is positive for human well-being, on the other hand it has wreaked havoc on human existence.
He commended the Lagos State Government and Department for the efforts they are demonstrating in their environmental sustainability initiatives to protect ecosystems and thereby support the health and well-being of all living things.
Sekibo, represented at the event by Heritage Bank’s Chief Risk Officer, Mr. Kehinde Olugbemi, said: “As the theme of this year’s World Environment Day celebrations suggests, we have ‘only one earth’, and indeed only one earth 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 impact of global warming on ecosystems and communities.”
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), he said 24 per cent of deaths can be attributed to avoidable environmental factors, adding that Heritage Bank Plc remains prioritized and strongly committed to environmentally sound practices to help build thriving communities and secure future growth potential.
“We recognize that our people and other residents need clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink and places to live free from toxic substances and hazards.
“As part of our sustainability efforts in Corporate Social Responsibility, we have continued to place sustainability at the heart of our decision-making, for the sake of humanity and the bank’s own bottom line, as a healthy planet is the backbone of almost every industry on earth,” he emphasized .
At the event, the State Government presented the Heritage Bank with the 2022 Environmental Sustainability Award for its contribution and support to environmental sustainability.
The bank joined other business organizations and schools within the state that were recognized for their efforts to protect nature and limit the impact of climate change on the earth.
The award was presented to the Bank by the State Government through the Lagos State Department of Environment and Water Resources on the occasion of World Environment Day 2022 celebrations, of which the Bank was also a main sponsor.
Opening the event, Lagos State Governor Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated that there is an urgent need for everyone to focus on the need to live sustainably with nature for the benefit of humanity, adding that this has become necessary to change this to a greener lifestyle both through policies and through individual choices.
He added that environmental sustainability is among the world’s most pressing issues today, exposing the Earth to triple planetary emergencies, namely climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
The governor, appointed by the permanent secretary of the Bureau of Environmental Services, Dr. Omolaji Gaji, represented, added that the impact of the challenges has made achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) less successful.
“With nature in emergency mode, the #OnlyOneEarth World Environment Day 2022 campaign wants us to celebrate the planet through collective environmental action,” he said.
The governor commended corporate organizations like Heritage Bank for making sure the state’s ongoing policy push to entrust the legacy of greening and restoring native trees to citizens is upheld.
The guest lecturer, Dr. Ayo Tella, during his presentation, noted that anthropogenic effects caused by human activities such as tree felling have altered Earth’s natural systems and the survival of many species.
Heritage Bank had previously donated plastic containers to Navy Town Secondary School in Ojo, Lagos, to celebrate World Earth Day, despite embarking on a project to tackle the water crisis while helping to make clean and drinkable water accessible to all make.
Similarly, a global open source movement called Liter of Light Nigeria has partnered with Heritage Bank Plc to bring sustainable solar energy to the Itomaro community in Lagos State while the bank was on its way to install over 10,000 bed nets in 2020 distribute to rural residents.