The bank has kick-started its mangrove swamp ecosystem rehabilitation and conservation project with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) as part of its environment and sustainability project.
Working together with MNS, HLB will assist in the restoration of 15 hectares of degraded forest land by planting approximately 50,000 new mangrove trees in the Kuala Selangor Nature Park over the next three years as part of the Bank’s commitment to help mitigate climate change, and offset its own operations environmental impact.
A healthy and established mangrove ecosystem supports habitats that are critical to preserve rich biodiversity, provide environmental protection against land erosion for example. Besides, it offers socio-economic and commercial benefits including fisheries, timber and tourism.
The mangrove forest environmental management initiative is a considered approach given the valuable and highly productive ecosystem that mangroves provide. Their widely acknowledged capability is to sequester substantial carbon emissions. They have their own circular ecosystem with a multiplier effect in conserving the environment and cultivating more sub-ecosystems. This is also in addition to, sustaining community livelihoods and wildlife.
“Sustainability, climate change and environmental degradation have become major concerns over the past decade. To mitigate the impact on the environment, people’s lives and livelihoods, and to build greater community resilience, actions and adjustments are required from all of us. Initiatives such as this one with MNS makes our sustainability journey more holistic and overtime yield tangible results that rehabilitate and conserve the environment and contribute towards the overall sustainability of the environment and socio-economic conditions for the surrounding communities,” Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB commented.
“Whilst much more needs to be done, this is a starting point in the journey to achieve our carbon neutral ambitions, and helping to achieve the right balance between the 3 pillars of sustainability – people, planet and the bottom line,” he added.
In line with adherence with the ESG principle, the Bank has also taken steps to strengthen its lending/financing sustainability practices by introducing its Business & Corporate Banking Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) Framework in 2020. The Framework serves as a foundation to guide the Bank ESG considerations in the credit evaluation of its SME and Corporate customers, helping to ensure that our customers’ own business operations are also contributing to the sustainable ecosystem of businesses, communities and the environment.
“Addressing climate change and its impacts demands collective action from all. With that, we are very excited to work closely with Hong Leong Bank in supporting their carbon-neutral ambitions through planting and conserving the mangrove forest in Kuala Selangor Nature
Park. Many of our valuable mangrove forests are under threat of extinction due to anthropogenic factors such as illegal logging, pollution and widespread coastal development. This initiative will help protect and nurture a uniquely important ecosystem that enables good carbon sequestration, protects coastal areas and controls erosion as well as provide economic resources in timber and fisheries. More importantly, it is crucial in contributing to the mitigation of climate change impacts,” Shanmugaraj Subramaniam, Executive Director of Malaysian Nature Society said.