As part of its annual Environmental Week celebrations, Orange Sierra Leone (Orange SL) kicked off a week-long series of activities on Monday, May 27, 2024, themed “The earth is all we have…let’s go green.”

The launch event, held at the company’s Hill Station Head Office, was attended by Orange SL’s management team, staff, the Honourable Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jiwoh Abdulai, and members of the Fort estate community.

Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Mimi Mugo, announced that the celebrations would focus on natural resource management and would involve various activities designed to educate and empower individuals on the importance of environmental preservation. Throughout the week, there will be awareness sessions across different departments, aimed at both organizational and individual levels. A beach cleaning exercise, organized in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), will take place on Friday, demonstrating Orange SL’s commitment to environmental protection. Additionally, a special ceremony will commemorate the first anniversary of their tree planting site cleaning initiative.

Edward Sesay of Orange SL highlighted the detrimental effects of pollution, noting that many people, especially in Africa, are unaware of the damage their actions cause. He contrasted this with Western countries, where environmental harm is often a result of intentional developmental pursuits. Sesay warned of the dire consequences if environmental destruction continues unchecked, emphasizing the deadly impact of air pollution, which is often overlooked. He mentioned that countries like the UK have taken steps to combat air pollution, such as reducing the number of cars on the roads, and stressed the need for similar measures globally.

Sesay also pointed out the distinction between indoor and outdoor pollution, with indoor pollution being particularly hazardous due to confined spaces. He urged everyone to take proactive steps in protecting the environment, emphasizing that solutions to pollution are universal but that pollution itself varies by region.

Addressing the gathering, the Climate Change Officer emphasized the importance of this year’s theme, which serves as a reminder of the significant impact of our actions on the environment.

“It is crucial for us to recognize our collective responsibility to the environment, our well-being, and the well-being of future generations,” she said.

She highlighted their commitment to environmental sustainability, noting that in 2023, their renewable energy ratio was 20%, which has now increased to 72% of their sites being powered by solar energy. Additionally, they planted 3,000 trees at Mortormeh Community in Regent, where a mudslide occurred, to restore ecological balance.

She also disclosed that last year, Orange Company was recognized as the Carbon Zero Champion Mobile Company of the Year for its sustainable efforts to reduce environmental impact.

She concluded by stating that despite these achievements, there is still more work to be done, and they are stepping up their efforts and setting more ambitious environmental goals for the future.

CEO of Orange Sierra Leone, Sékou Amadou Bah, emphasized the importance of environmental protection, stating, “We need to protect the environment more than protecting ourselves because we need the environment more than the environment needs us.” He highlighted common environmental challenges such as climate change, pollution, and deforestation, noting that a small percentage of humanity is responsible for a significant portion of the damage. Bah called for a collective effort to reduce our carbon footprint by minimizing waste, utilizing renewable energy, supporting sustainable agriculture, and advocating for robust environmental policies.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jiwoh Abdulai, commended Orange SL for supporting government efforts to raise environmental awareness. He stressed the importance of community engagement in addressing environmental issues, as local stakeholders are crucial in implementing effective strategies. Abdulai detailed the government’s initiatives, including policy implementation and community sensitization, aimed at mitigating harmful human activities. He praised Orange SL for their compliance with environmental regulations and underscored the importance of such events in promoting environmental awareness.