12,000 trees planted on first day at 17 locations across the country
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has embarked on an ambitious nationwide tree planting campaign to plant 100,000 trees across Sri Lanka in three years, to help achieve country’s self-defined national climate pledges under the UN Paris Agreement.
Aptly titled ‘Trees for Tomorrow’ the programme commenced on 11th November 2023, four days ahead of National Tree Planting Day – 15th November – with the planting of 12,000 trees at 17 locations in 12 districts, achieving 12% of the target in a single day. More than 1000 members of the staff of Commercial Bank participated in the tree planting.
Among the locations chosen for the planting of trees on the launch day were Giguruwa in the Sinharaja forest, the lower slopes of the Hantana mountain range, the precincts of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, the Bellanwila – Attidiya bird sanctuary, the banks of the Tissamaharama Wewa, the Victoria Park in Nuwara Eliya and the grounds of several universities.
The locations were chosen in consultation with Commercial Bank branches and the relevant stakeholders in the localities to ensure that the most appropriate areas are benefited, the Bank said. The types of plants were also selected according to the requirements of the geographic locations in consultation with relevant stakeholders, to ensure proper climate transition.
The Bank said the project would continue in selected locations across the country, with Government agencies, universities, the Sri Lanka Army, Department of Forest Conservation and other institutions allocating the land, and supporting the initiative by helping the Bank to protect and maintain the trees till they are self-sustaining.
Commenting on this latest commitment by the Bank to promote sustainability on a national scale, Commercial Bank Managing Director/CEO Mr Sanath Manatunge said. “We have already proved that sustainability is not just a buzzword for Commercial Bank, by becoming the country’s first carbon neutral bank. But that was just a beginning for us, not an end. The Bank has funded many other projects to support the regeneration of the environment and combat climate change. It is our hope that a project on the scale of ‘Trees for Tomorrow’ will have a significant impact on improving air quality, rainfall and biodiversity. This initiative not only focuses on achieving the Bank’s environmental goals in the sustainability sphere, but is an initiative by the Bank as a responsible corporate citizen, to support the country achieve its climate goals.”
Among other significant environment-related projects sponsored by the Commercial Bank are the reforestation of a 100-hectare swath of degraded habitat belonging to the Kandegama forest in the Dimbulagala range of the Polonnaruwa District, a mangrove restoration project in Koggala, a marine turtle conservation initiative in Panama, a partnership with Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL) to maintain a stretch of beach in Kalutara and numerous beach clean-up projects.
The first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World, Commercial Bank operates a network of 271 branches and 957 automated machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s Banking sector. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 20 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.