Seplat Energy Plc yesterday launched a new campaign tagged, ‘Tree 4 Life initiative’ as part of its commitment towards promoting environmental sustainability.
The even saw several government functionaries, including the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva; Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Mele Kyari and Chairman of the oil firm, Margery Chuba-Okadigbo, yesterday recommitted to the federal government’s 2060 netzero plan.
Speaking at the Seplat Energy Tree-4-LIFE launch in Abuja, Sylva, Kyari, Chuba-Okadigbo; outgoing Chairman of Seplat Energy, Dr. ABC Orjiako and the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Roger Brown, all agreed that the campaign aligned with the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s plan to ensure a cleaner future for Nigeria’s children.
The initiative aims to support tree planting to restore, recover, and reforest the country, solving biodiversity loss and sucking up carbon emissions naturally as well as providing food and resources for Nigerians.
In addition, Seplat through the programme is committing to planting one million trees annually with 75 per cent or more as economic trees.
In his comments, Sylva stressed that Seplat had shown that it remains a responsible operator in the oil industry by embarking upon the tree planting programme.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has committed us as a country to the year 2060 as our year for netzero. Having made that commitment on behalf of all of us, it behooves on all of us in one way or the other, to establish pathways to achieve netzero in 2060.
“As a government we are also creating corridors and pathways that operators in the industry can take to actually achieve net zero,” he stressed.
Kyari, in his remarks said that the Seplat plan to plant trees was in consonance with the government’s programme to ensure a greener environment and reduce carbon emissions.
“This aligns with the realities of the energy transition that is ongoing and globally and impact on our businesses and our progress and also issues around eliminating poverty in Africa.
“No doubt this event connects to this clearly, in the sense that as we all know, the majority of our people use firewood or charcoal as a source of energy for cooking,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Orjiako, noted that in 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had produced its First Assessment Report with three major conclusions, viz: that (global) temperatures had risen by 0.3-0.6C over the last century; that humanity’s emissions were adding to the atmosphere’s natural complement of greenhouse gases, and that the addition would be expected to result in warming.
Therefore, he said it was important to note that the warnings of the IPCC from over 30 years ago not only have come to pass but are now direr in 2022.
“In the light of the above, Seplat Energy, the first Nigerian company to complete a dual listing on the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, has initiated a number of decarbonisation projects, to ensure a significant reduction in our carbon footprint, as an energy company.
“We are, therefore, deeply committed to sustainable business practices and strongly determined to play our part in mitigating climate change, by incrementally committing more resources towards developing strategic responses to the climate change challenge,” he explained.
Orjiako pointed out that the overall goal of the new initiative launched by Seplat, was to restore, recover and reforest solving biodiversity loss, and in the process naturally increase our carbon sequestration, in line with SDG 13 on Climate Action, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gasses and fight climate change.
Brown, in his intervention, explained that while trying to reduce carbon emissions, Nigeria needs to also eradicate energy poverty.
Stating that oil would remain a big part of the energy mix, he added that the tree planting exercise would aid reforestation, create employment, saying that the programme has multiple facets, including biodiversity.
“So it’s about food security, it’s about education, it’s about growth within the country by diversity and netzero. And what we’re trying to do is trying to complement the efforts of the federal government and stakeholders to really have a positive impact,” he pointed out.
Brown further explained: “The ‘Seplat Tree 4 Life’ campaign, which we are launching today, is an initiative that will position us for enduring social impact in environmental stewardship, job creation, youth/women empowerment and addressing poverty.
“We will deliberately engage women, youth and communities for sustainable food production and a sustainable environment through tree planting in their communities and mindset change.
“We have adopted a two-prong approach. To advocate for Tree Planting and Protection to instill the consciousness of the importance of tree planting and the responsibility of citizens to ensure its success.
“Plant Trees – run afforestation/restoration programmes with a commitment to plant one million trees annually, comprising majorly economic trees.”
Chuba-Okadigbo, while speaking said that coming at a time the oil and gas industry is facing unprecedented challenges, the Seplat initiative should be lauded.
“The good news is that concerted efforts are being made on climate action and asking what we can do to mitigate climate change,” she explained, adding that the solutions would involve everyone.