Ethiopian plants 2 mn trees to green airline

16th Oct 2007

Ethiopian Airlines and Greener Ethiopia will jointly plant two million trees throughout Ethiopia during the Ethiopian Millennium.
Ethiopian Airlines and Greener Ethiopia unveil joint plans to plant two million trees throughout Ethiopia during the Ethiopian Millennium year, launching a long term environmental campaign to be known as FLY GREENER.

Mr. Busera Awel, Vice President Commercial of Ethiopian said that the ongoing national campaign whereby every Ethiopian is to plant and raise at least two trees during the year 2000 EC has already inspired staff of the airline to plant many trees on several occasions during the current rainy season.

However, the management and staff of Ethiopian recognize that planting few trees is far from adequate to offset the damage society as a whole has imposed on the environment. This has led Ethiopian to leverage the expertise, infrastructure and agro-forestry services of Greener Ethiopia to develop a long term programme to be scaled up on a year to year basis. Mr. Pascal Woldemariam, Chairman of Greener Ethiopia, explained: ‘our nurseries will enable us to meet the target of planting 2,000,000 trees on behalf of Ethiopian during our Millennium year. Our strategy is to disseminate seedlings of multipurpose trees that are certain to bring sustainable livelihood values to farming communities.’

Ethiopian Airlines is supporting Greener Ethiopia’s international campaign to mobilize funds from international and local sources as well as Ethiopians abroad to expand farmer’s activities from backyard planting to large scale reforestation of degraded lands, community woodlots and primary forest protection. ‘...years of deforestation and degradation requires years of reforestation and rehabilitation. Who is to do it, but the farmer?’ said Dr. Shimelis Yigezu, agriculturist and board member of Greener Ethiopia.

Mr. Girma Wake, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian agrees: ‘while our primary mandate is to move passengers and cargo and to generate revenue, we cannot ignore the bigger picture of making the world we live in a better place by contributing our share. We have already started the move to make a difference in our decision to go for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the most environmentally friendly aircraft. In addition Greener Ethiopia has given us a credible way to pay back our environmental debt. The Millennium Year commitment to plant two million trees is a small step in this direction.’


The Ethiopian people are the shareholders of the airline. The Board and the management that is entrusted with ensuring excellence in service and portfolio performance are constantly seeking ways to have a meaningful engagement in the daily life of Ethiopians. Mr. Girma says, ‘We truly believe that, as collective owners of the airline, the people deserve to see with their own eyes their airline bringing environmental and developmental values directly into their lives’.

As such, the vision of the campaign is to see woodlots shortening the distance that women have to travel to fetch fuel wood; to see soil moisture, fertility and stability enhanced for better farm yields; to raise groundwater levels so children can always find potable water close to their homesteads; households can find adequate fodder to enable confined feeding of their dairy cattle; and to create renewable timber sources for improved housing. It means a lot to Ethiopian Airlines that these impacts are not only realized but that the beneficiaries can say: ‘Our airline made it possible’.

The campaign has already started to enlist the support of several international and local institutions to implement the programme. Chairman of Greener Ethiopia, Pascal, says: ‘Ethiopian is our country’s flag-bearer and symbol of excellence in management and operation. Our pride compels us to raise the bar higher by making Ethiopian the first green airline in the world.’ Greener Ethiopia’s approach will be to first get all segments of Ethiopia, including those abroad, to get excited about the campaign. The Woreda agric extension services, the community nurseries and peasant associations, and Ethiopian civic groups in the US already constitute the core partnership in all Greener Ethiopia projects. The Environmental Protection Agency, Addis Ababa Administration and several major corporations have been flagged to join the campaign. Internationally, the campaign will join hands with Trees for the Future, UNEP and the US National Arbor Day among others.

Ethiopian is giving Greener Ethiopia ample logistical support and credentials to raise funds from philanthropic sources and to mobilize volunteers from around the world. Supporters of the campaign will be able to monitor progress through the in-flight publications, films and site visits. Promotional events, posters, billboards and media projects will be regular features of the Fly Greener - Fly Ethiopian campaign.



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