“Sustainability is core to the way we operate, and we are proud to be supporting the Cycling and MOVE for Trees initiative designed to provide value and motivation to current and younger generations,” declared HSBC Malta’s Executive Director & Head of Business Development, Michel Cordina.

He was speaking on behalf of the HSBC Malta Foundation, which provided financial support to NGO MOVE. On its part, MOVE organised the Cycle for Trees initiative, which saw 62,000 cycled kilometres donated by the general public, paving the way for the planting of 250 trees at MCAST Paola.

During the tree planting event, HSBC Malta Foundation also launched MOVE for TREES. This new initiative extends the project with the sponsorship of an additional 2,000 trees to be planted against carbon-free kilometres donated by the general public.

MOVE for TREES adopts the same concept as Cycle for Trees and aims to address, inactivity and environmental challenges by promoting active and sustainable mobility, mainly walking and cycling, as an alternative mode of transportation. A tree will be planted for every 50 Km donated individually or collectively in various schools and locations around Malta. Schools are encouraged to participate in the initiative by promoting sustainable mobility among students . Furthermore, the general public is invited to donate kilometres done in walking, running or cycling by recording their journey on any app of their choice and sending a screenshot of their activity on www.movemalta.org.

During the event, MCAST Principal and CEO Professor Joachim James Calleja spoke about the significance of Corporate Social Responsibility at the College. “We need to develop and cultivate skills, attitudes, and values to empower young learners to become active citizens. Greening our campus is also top of our agenda as we continue to develop our spaces for the community.”

MOVE Director and Founder Cynthia Debono thanked all participants who donated their kilometres and MCAST lecturers and staff who cycled for the trees and volunteered to plant the trees around campus. Debono also presented the concept behind the initiative which is a shift focus from the individual towards the collective good, as well as to the greater good of future generations. “The challenge is knowing that we would never sit in the shade of these trees or see the end result because this project will last a hundred years”.

Paul Calleja, a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Community Services, contributed to this greening initiative by listing indigenous trees and bushes which are resilient to Malta’s tough climatic conditions, as well as the identification of the ideal locations on campus for planting these trees. Rare tree and bush species which have been planted on campus include the Southern Nettle Tree (Bagular) and the Mediterranean Buckthorn (Alaternu), as well as the national tree of Malta, the Sandarac Gum Tree (Gharghar).

The Cycle for Trees initiative was selected as a “Campaign that made a difference” by the European Cyclists’ Federation. As a result, the initiative will be presented by Ms Debono during the Velo City 2022 Conference that will be held in Ljubljana this coming June. The Velo City Conference is organised jointly by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), Gospodarsko razstavišče d.o.o (GR), Dekon (PCO) and the City of Ljubljana.

MOVE is a non-profit organisation spearheading the use of grassroots sports, physical activity and placemaking as a tool to inspire healthier communities. The organisation is based at MCAST Paola and works in collaboration with the MCAST CSR office, lecturers and students to create a more liveable and active campus.

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