MTN Uganda Pioneering Environmental Stewardship for a Sustainable Future

Florence Sempebwa Makada Managing Director MotorCare Uganda shaking hands with Sylvia Mulinge Chief Executive Officer MTN Uganda at the handover of the Nissan Ariya the electric test car

Three years ago, MTN Uganda embarked on an ambitious project to restore 220 hectares of forest cover. This initiative, part of the larger “Uganda is Home” campaign, celebrated the symbiotic relationship between MTN Uganda and the people of Uganda, reinforcing the company’s commitment to the socio-economic well-being of the country.

MTN Uganda’s forest restoration initiative was more than a symbolic gesture; it was a tangible recommitment to Uganda’s environmental and socio-economic development. Three years later, the initiative aligns with the 2024 World Environment Day theme, “land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience” highlighting the critical importance of reforestation for a sustainable future.

Launched at Kyewaga Central Forest Reserve in Entebbe, the project was undertaken in partnership with the National Forestry Authority. The reforestation effort aimed to restore forest cover in five Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) across the country: Barifa CFR in Arua, Kagombe CFR in Kibaale, Jubiya CFR in Masaka, and Ogera Hills CFR in Serere district. The project symbolized the company’s then, 22-year presence in Uganda, with each 10 hectares representing one year of MTN’s existence in the country.

In the three years since the project’s inception, the impact has been profound. The restored forests have not only enhanced biodiversity but also improved the livelihoods of local communities. Forests play a crucial role in climate regulation, water purification, and soil preservation, contributing to the overall health of the environment and the well-being of the people.

MTN Uganda’s environmental conservation efforts extend beyond reforestation initiatives. The company has decisively committed to environmental responsibility with its goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, already bearing significant results through its “Project Zero” initiative. This comprehensive initiative focused on decarbonization has led to the company reducing its emissions by more than half in just two years.

The company registered a remarkable 59% reduction in emissions in Q1 2023 in comparison to Q1 2021. This reduction was achieved through strategic deployment of smart energy monitoring tools, which provided invaluable insights and enabled the implementation of key actions to significantly reduce power consumption.

The project also targeted Tower Co sites, achieving a 15% reduction in emissions despite adding over 1,000 sites within two years. This accomplishment was driven by widespread solar deployment, integration of lithium-ion batteries, and a strategic shift in the primary power source.

MTN Uganda is in its initial stages of introducing electric vehicles (EVs) into its fleet, aligning with the company’s broader strategy to further reduce emissions. Although still in the procurement phase, this move marks a significant step towards sustainable transportation within the company.

Looking ahead, MTN Uganda is exploring innovative solutions to harness wind power in targeted locations, despite the geographical constraints of Uganda not being at sea level. Ongoing projects, including wind power production Proof of Concepts (POCs), are progressing, showcasing the company’s commitment to exploring all avenues for sustainable energy.

The company’s dedication to sustainability and the ongoing success of Project Zero exemplify its leadership in the journey towards a greener future.

Today, as we celebrate the 2024 World Environment Day, the success of MTN Uganda’s reforestation project serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of ecosystem restoration. It exemplifies how corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand, creating a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

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