In a bid to increase and achieve 10 percent forest coverage in the country, Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to plant five million trees.
The MoU signed by Director of Corporate Affair for Safaricom, Steve Chege and KFS chair Peter Kinyua happened on Thursday during the launch of Safaricom Sustainability Business Report 2019 at Micheal Joseph Centre, Nairobi.
The mobile service provider hopes to plant about five million indigenous trees in the next five years among gazetted forests in the country while involving local communities who will nurture the seedlings to trees. This is in order with the 13th Sustainable Development Goal on Climate Change.
“We appreciate Safaricom for this partnership with us and we invite other organizations to take part in this great initiative to curb climate change and achieve 10 percent forest cover in Kenya,” said KFS Chairman Peter Kenya.
“In order to achieve the 10 percent coverage, we need to plant about 500,000 trees in a year. KFS will propagate 250,000 trees while Kenyans are required to grow the other 250,000 trees,” he added.
The giant Telco company further revealed that it was moving away fro diesel-powered generators in their masts so as to minimize carbon emissions.
“We have begun to work on moving more of our network sites away from diesel-powered generators and onto the national grid. We are also exploring clean energy solutions to power these sites. For us to arrest climate change, we must take drastic action today. This is why Safaricom has made a bold commitment to become a net-zero carbon-emitting company by 2050,” said Safaricom Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Steve Chege.
The organization stated that it realizes its carbon footprint cannot be ignored and will try to counterbalance as it may not be able to reduce its carbon footprint in the medium term.
“Over the last five years, we have been measuring and tracking our carbon footprint, which at present stands at 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. We realize that climate change remains one of the biggest challenges we face today. In line with our bold Net Zero commitment, we have pledged to do more to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, whose burning contributes to global warming, and reduce our carbon footprint. In addition to restoring forest cover, this carbon offset program will help build resilience to climate change and sustainable livelihoods within the community,” added Chege.
The project by Safaricom to plant five million trees is expected to cancel out over 300,000 tonnes of carbon once the trees have grown to maturity. A large tree has been estimated to absorbs 24 kilograms of carbon dioxide each year that is approximately one tonne of carbon in a 40-year life span.
In time, additional benefits from the forestation project will include providing jobs and stimulating economic growth in the local community, generating income from sales of tree seedlings, eco-tourism, and beekeeping.