World Earth Day: Celebrating one year of Aranya
By Derek Nazareth
As we highlight the importance of World Earth Day, I’m proud to be celebrating the one-year anniversary of the launch of AXA XL in India’s ambitious three-year project to plant 30,000 trees and create a biodiversity park (Aranya) in Jaunapur, Chhatarpur, New Delhi.
In April last year we partnered with charity, Give Me Trees Trust, to embark on project Aranya, supporting AXA’s purpose to ‘Act for human progress by protecting what matters’. The project has been a real success and I feel honored to have personally visited the site several times.
A healthy biodiversity helps to breakdown and absorb pollution and provide resilience to climate change. The new park in Delhi is expected to release 2,400,000 kgs of Oxygen per year, with the fledgling forest becoming self-sufficient after two years. Additionally, a healthy biodiversity helps with the management of groundwater levels, preventing flash flooding and enriching the quality of the soil.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, our colleagues in India continued to find ways to support this initiative by helping to develop and monitor the land with the Give Me Trees Trust and also by assisting with fundraising for raw materials like seeds, soil and gardening equipment. Colleagues also grew saplings for the charity from home.
Project Aranya has already facilitated the planting of 12000 mini-trees, with colleagues in India able to visit the site last year under social distancing rules. A key aim of the project is to engage the local community and increase awareness of sustainability, which the charity did through hosting several webinars that were open to the public.
Delhi has a significant issue with air pollution and unsanitary water, and this initiative is helping to keep ecosystems healthy, by creating a protected space where nature can thrive. Conservation and sustainable development strategies are integral in preserving biodiversity, and this project, which has been driven by our Think Green Team in India, is a great example of the positive local actions we can take to deliver on our global corporate responsibility goals.
I’m excited to watch this project grow and feel privileged to work for a division like AXA XL that works to protect the environment in my local community.
The author, Derek Nazareth, is the Head of Global Operations and Country Head, AXA XL in India.