In 2008 Ethiopian Airlines unveiled plans to plant trees throughout Ethiopia, during the Ethiopian Millennium year, and launched a long-term environmental campaign known as FLY GREENER.
Over 60% of the land mass of Ethiopia was once covered with forest but sadly, that has now been reduced to less than 3%, with undesired consequences on the health and wealth of its people. As part of its corporate social responsibility, Ethiopian has dedicated resources to bringing trees back to Ethiopia and thus has been actively pursuing the initiatives of Greener Ethiopia, a community based association dedicated to the improvement of the local environment by planting trees.
The strategy thus far was to disseminate seedlings of multipurpose trees that are certain to bring sustainable livelihood values to farming communities.
While the effort to distribute seedlings will continue for the foreseeable future, the airline is looking to cover selected areas with trees. Ethiopian, the country’s flag-bearer and symbol of excellence in management and operation, is the first green airline in Africa. Since launching the greener initiative, 7.5 million seedlings of multipurpose and indigenous trees have been distributed to various communities in the Southern part of Ethiopia. And taking this initiative further, Ethiopian has now pledged to plant one tree for every passenger flown. The trees planted so far, and those that are still being planted, are trees that greatly contribute to sustaining the environment by preventing soil erosion. They also provide fuel, building materials, fodder and food for livestock and humans alike (the leaves of the Moringa tree, for instance, are quite acceptable to the taste, especially when added to common foods) and facilitate new income-generating activities.
Needless to say, this initiative is changing the rural face of Ethiopia for the better. New trees and the outstanding commitment of the many communities, who help to plant them, are an unstoppable force for good. It has been joined by Ethiopians from every ethnic group, religion and profession - all of whom have a stake in their country’s future. This unique initiative is transforming the lives of thousands and playing an equally significant role in challenging Global Warming and Climate Change.
If the peoples of a developing country can change their future for the better, then surely so can everyone. That is why we here at Ethiopian say, come fly with us and together let us make the world Greener.