Financial services provider Nedbank announced in November 2010 that its long-standing partnership with the local chapter of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) has resulted in donations of R100-million (US$14.2-million) towards environmental sustainability.
Nedbank has raised most of the funds through its innovative Green Affinity programme, proving that it is green in intent as well as in corporate colour.
The Affinity initiative allows clients to automatically contribute to a cause of their choice when they use their credit, current or savings account or investment product – causes include the arts and cultural heritage, sport development, disadvantaged children, and the environment.
The Green Trust is the main environmental beneficiary. An equal partnership between Nedbank and WWF-SA, the trust celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010 and over the years has supported over 170 community-driven conservation projects across Southern Africa.
It focuses on programmes that help to conserve species and ecosystem diversity; mitigate greenhouse gas emission; promote sustainable use of renewable resources; and reduction of pollution as well as careless use of energy and natural resources.
Projects have ranged from sustainable food production and climate change, to environmental education and marine conservation.
Named South Africa’s top green company in 2009, Nedbank is a national and international leader in green thinking. In July 2010 the bank became the first in Africa to achieve carbon neutrality across all its operations, after publishing its official Climate Change Position Statement the year before.
Through water, energy, paper, and waste reduction targets throughout its head office and branches, as well as the astute selection of carbon credits, the bank has managed to completely offset its carbon footprint.
Also in November 2010, the WWF-SA was named South Africa’s second most trusted NGO, according to the annual survey carried out by the Ask Africa 2010 Trust Barometer. The independent survey, which also applies to corporates and individuals, is based on 200 interviews with top executives from local listed companies. The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund topped the list.
Bringing conservation and community together
Green Trust manager Thérèse Brinkcate said that at the time the organisation was established, there was little or no connection between conservation programmes and community development.
“The Green Trust’s mission was to bring these two isolated concepts together in order to promote the ideals of people and the environment living and working in harmony,” she said in a statement.
“Twenty years later The Green Trust has funded numerous community-based projects and has proven that a strong focus on people is imperative to achieve environmental sustainability and the protection of wildlife.”
Maseda Ratshikuni, Nedbank’s head of cause marketing, lauded WWF-SA and Nedbank for sustaining one of the most enduring partnerships in South Africa between a non-profit organisation and a corporation.