Bengaluru: AstraZeneca India, a science-led biopharmaceutical company, today launched its global campaign ‘AZ forest’ in Bangalore with a commitment to plant 5000 trees in the open jail area, Devanahalli. As a part of this initiative, the company joined hands with SankalpTaru Foundation, an IT enabled NGO, spreading greenery with its core philosophy of “planting trees for the people, by the people”. Thanks to Smt. Dr. S.G. Susheelamma, President, Sumangali Seva Ashrama and Mr. Sanjay Belawal, Founder of Belawal Foundation who were proactively involved in the process of due diligence of the land where AZ Forest will be flourishing for decades.
The event was flagged off by Shri. Mallikarjuna Maali, Superintendent, Open Air Jail, Devanahalli, Bengaluru in the presence of other officials from the jail authority, SankalpTaru Foundation, along with AstraZeneca’s leaders and employees.
AZ Forest initiative by AstraZeneca looks forward to restoring forests and biodiversity by planting trees worldwide in partnership with local governments and non-profit organizations. Globally this initiative aims to plant and maintain 50-million trees worldwide by the end of 2025. All the 5000 trees being planted under this program in Bangalore, will be smartly geo-tagged enabling individualistic tracking of each plant remotely. This unique model will help in ensuring that the growth and management of a plant is well monitored, and timely interventions can be planned as and when required.
Speaking on this occasion, Gagandeep Singh, Managing Director, AstraZeneca India said, “In-keeping with our sustainability priorities of Ambition Zero Carbon and environmental protection on the whole, we are glad to share this milestone with you. We recognise the strong connection between a healthy planet, healthy people and we work to foster environments where lives can thrive and breathe easy. Through this partnership, we are committed to planting saplings and taking care of them for a period of next few years till the time the plantation can sustain on its own. We are glad to have found support from the Jail authorities in allowing us to undertake this drive in their premise which can help in building a positive sensation watching these plants grow and gain strength”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the greatest public health challenges of recent times, but the impact on climate emergency has the potential to be greater and is already changing our planet irreversibly. “The relationship between human and planet health is a complex one but it certainly has an impact on the well-being both physically, emotionally and psychologically. This is a welcome initiative that can help in harnessing the energy of the inmates in our premise and contribute in saving our environment in a dedicated manner”, said Shri. Basavaraaj Chikkhop, Jailer, Open Air Jail, Devanahalli, Bengaluru
Commenting on this partnership, Mrs Priyanka Negi, COO, SankalpTaru Foundation said, “Reforestation helps sequester carbon dioxide, prevents disease through combatting air pollution and supports the restoration of biodiversity. We all understand that tree plantation in a sustainable manner not only reduces the risks of natural disasters nut has multiple social and economic benefits for communities around them. This drive taking place in the open jail area with the help of the jail authorities is a strong example of a like-minded approach in spreading positivity while conserving environment. Glad to be partnering with an organisation such as AstraZeneca that has a long term vision to bring about a difference at the ground level and influence the environment we live in”.
AZ Forest programme is also a part of AstraZeneca’s work to address climate change and support the WEF’s 1t.org – The Champions for a Trillion Trees platform. In 2021, the AZ Forest initiative was first introduced in countries like Indonesia, Australia, United Kingdom and Scotland along with their global partner One Tree. Starting with Indonesia, the company committed to plant 20 million trees by 2025, as a part of this global initiative. Similarly in Australia, AstraZeneca pledged to plant 25 million trees, recognising the impact of the devastating bushfires in 2020. In United Kingdom, the firm will plant over one million trees across England and southern Scotland by 2025. Adding on organisations priorities, Gagan said, “Globally we have invested significantly in natural resource efficiency and renewable energy at our sites in a systematic and dedicated manner. We have accelerated the renewable energy productivity targets in power and heat by recently installing more than 1176 Solar panels in our factory premises to reduce the overall carbon footprint. AZ Forest is a step in another small step in that direction”.