Mr Olivier Bailly-Bechet, Chief Executive Officer, Advans Ghana Savings and Loans, has encouraged Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of planting trees to help replenish the country's ever-depleting vegetation.

That, he said, would also help to address issues of climate change with its devastating impact on both mankind and the environment and achieve Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 15.

Annual deforestation rate in Ghana since 1990 is estimated at 0.6 per cent, while the country’s rainforest is under severe strain due to human activities including illegal mining and illegal logging.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the tree planting exercise embarked upon by the company in the Chipa Forest Reserve at Kordiabe in the Shai Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region on Thursday, Mr Bailly-Bechet said Ghanaians and indeed, the rest of the world must make a conscious effort to plant trees to address the alarming climate change.

"This is very important because climate change is very impactful already now. We can see it these days with the heavy rains in October," he said.

A total of 1,100 trees of various species including Mahogany and Cedar were planted by the company to replace lost trees in the reserve.

Mr Bailly-Bechet said as a company that consumed huge volumes of paper, it was important to plant trees to at least replenish the equivalent of its consumption.

He, however, noted that the Advans was making a conscious effort to reduce its reliance on paper by digitalising its operations.

"In three years, we have reduced our paper consumption by almost 25 percent, part of the result is due to the sensitization of the staff and going forward for more digitalization of our businesses and this also will help to reduce our paper consumption,” he said.

Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource and the Forestry Commission in June 2021 initiated the Green Ghana project, with the aim of planting five million trees across the country to restore depleted vegetation cover.

Mr Bailly-Bechet said such initiatives were laudable and urged Ghanaians to help sustain it to ensure that the purpose for which it was initiated was achieved.

“Definitely, it is a very important issue if you want to save the planet while there is still time to do it, and trees are very important component of the planet to preserve nature, animals, ecosystems and our oxygen and so I think it is a good initiative and it is good to have this kind of initiatives,” he added.

Mrs Barbara Odei, Chief of Sales and Distribution at Advans Ghana, said the company introduced the exercise three years ago as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as well as to sensitise staff and clients about the adverse effect of deforestation.

She noted that the company was unable to undertake the exercise of planting in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To compensate the lost time, she said an additional 400 trees were planted to complement government’s Green Ghana Initiative and to restore the country’s ecosystem.

Mr Samuel Asare Asiamah, Assistant Manager, Forest Service Division, Forestry Commission, said the Commission would put in place fire protection mechanisms and increase its fire patrol, especially in the dry seasons to ensure the safety of the plants.

He commended Advans Ghana for the initiative and urged more corporate organisations to incorporate tree planting into their CSR to help restore Ghana’s lost vegetation cover.

Advans Ghana Savings and Loans is a subsidiary of the Advans Group headquartered in Paris with a presence in nine countries in Africa and Asia and serving more than 1.2 million clients.

In Ghana, Advans operates in 20 branches across 8 regions with the head office located in Newtown. For 13 years, Advans Ghana has been supporting entrepreneurs and is willing to remain their preferred financial partner in these difficult times.

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