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Standard Bank Structured Trade & Commodity Finance Plant Trees for Travel - 4 September 2008

Standard Bank, a leader in banking technology in South Africa, has long maintained its commitment to the sponsorship of community sports and arts-related activities. More recently they are focussing on environmental issues. The Trees for Travel Campaign was initiated by Standard Bank’s Structured Trade & Commodity Finance Division to offset long and short-haul flights undertaken by its employees between January and December 2007. In April 2008 calculations of the carbon footprint generated by these flights was conducted using national greening organisation Food & Trees for Africa’s (FTFAs) online carbon calculator, the first South African calculator of its kind based on Global Greenhouse Gas Reporting Protocols.

It was found that the estimated carbon emissions generated by the employees’ flights for a year could be voluntarily offset by planting 69 trees through the Carbon Standard, a programme launched by FTFA in 2006. The Carbon Standard makes it easy and affordable for individuals, corporations, brands, government agencies and other activities to measure and offset their carbon emissions by planting trees in poor and barren communities throughout South Africa.

For Standard Bank’s offset, FTFA planted indigenous and fruit trees through its National Tree Distribution Programme which responds to requests for trees for schools, clinics, churches and other community centres. Indigenous or fruit trees of a metre in height are delivered with information on how to plant and maintain them. This programme provides many environmental and social benefits, partially offsets carbon emissions and uses tree planting events to generate environmental education and awareness on topics from recycling to global warming.

In line with Standard Bank’s requests, the 69 Trees for Travel were planted at two schools close to Standard Bank’s Katlehong branch: Mampudi Primary School and Illinge High School. Trees were distributed to both schools on the 16th and 18th of July 2008 during tree planting demonstrations held with each class and with Standard Bank and FTFA representatives in attendance.

“On behalf of Standard Bank Structured Trade & Commodity Finance we would like to thank Food & Trees for Africa for helping to make our tree planting day a success. I think all of those present will agree what a fantastic day it turned out to be. It was so refreshing to see a school with so much passion and pride…we all felt like royalty!” said Robert Waller, Manager Trade Business. “We now look forward to our ambitious Arbor Week challenge where we hope to distribute 1 000 trees.”

For more information on the Trees for Travel Campaign, please contact Rachel Darby of FTFA on rachel@trees.org.za / 011 803 9750.