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UBL goes big on tree planting

Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, plant a tree at the parliament compound prior to flagging off participants to the inaugural Running out of trees (ROOT) 330km run from Kampala to Gulu on Feb.07.

Beer maker, Uganda Breweries Limited has promised to partner with several private sector companies to plant trees as an avenue to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | Speaking during the 330-km long awareness relay Marathon from Kampala to Gulu, in a tree campaign dubbed running out of trees, on Feb.08, the company’s Managing Director, Alvin Mbugua said the initiative was part of its corporate social responsibility geared towards conserving the environment.

Under this campaign, a total of 40 million trees will be planted each year for the next five years. Mbugua told The Independent that in the last two years, the company has invested about Shs2.5billion in various initiatives under its CSR activities including one on environment.

He added that conserving the environment today means securing the good environment for the future generation.

“Our plan is to ensure that our business does not cause neither long term critical depletion of natural resources nor lasting damage to species, habits and biodiversity,” he said.

Mbugua said he wants to see a country that can maximize value for its socio-economic wealth and be the largest beneficiary of its vast resource base.

The 2-day relay featured 100 runners each covering 10km carrying and passing on a baton inform of a commitment for the private sector to be at the forefront of driving efforts of rehabilitating the country’s lost tree cover.

The executives said the campaign will climax into a National Tree Planting Day, to be held in April this year, where UBL and the Ministry of Water and Environment shall be leading an effort to plant 40 million trees in eight hours.

Speaking during the flag-off ceremony of the runners at Parliament on Feb.07, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said the new initiative is a good step towards the country’s development.

“Corporate companies rallying together to conserve the environment and support government efforts is a step in the right direction,” Kadaga said.

She added that all organizations need to take part in tree planting as a priority to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

Statistics from the National Forestry Authority show that Uganda lost 2.4 million hectares of forest cover between 1990 and 2015.

This translates into an annual loss of 96,000 hectares, which acreage is equivalent to 96,000 football pitches.

During the same period, the forest estate outside protected areas reduced from 68% of the total forest land area in 1990 to 38% in 2015. This means that almost half of the non-gazetted forests were cleared in just 25 years.

UBL, under its E Green Initiative, has planted over 55,000 trees across the country since 2005. More milestones are expected to be recorded as the company moves to implement the new campaign with other big private sector players – Stanbic Bank, Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited, Total Uganda, KCCA, New Vision Limited, Citi Bank Uganda and Liberty Assurance.

Going forward, the next run will be held in January 2021 and will take the Kampala – Fort Portal route.

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