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PRMA recognizes FirstBank’s coastal erosion mitigation program

The bank collaborates with government, academic and nonprofit partners to extend the impact of its initiative.

The Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA) has honored FirstBank’s “Rescate Costero” (“Coastal Rescue”) erosion mitigation program with the Sustainability Excellence Natural Solutions award at the 15th Environmental Sustainability and Best Practices Summit.

“We’re so proud to be receiving this recognition during Earth Month, and for years, FirstBank has distinguished itself by its commitment to protect the environment,” said Wanda Betancourt, senior vice president of Communications and Marketing at FirstBank.

“Last year, as part of our 75th anniversary, we embarked on this great challenge to contribute to the mitigation of coastal erosion by planting 25,000 trees over a period of three years,” she said.

“To help with an environmental problem as complex as this, we took on the task of managing collaboration agreements with a multisectoral group that includes the government sector, affected municipalities, community-based organizations, schools and private entities,” Betancourt noted.

The initiative has allied with Vida Marina, an ecological conservation and restoration center led by Robert Meyer, a scientist and researcher at the University of Puerto Rico’s Aguadilla campus. Vida Marina focuses on sand dune restoration to naturally mitigate coastal erosion.

“These initiatives complement each other in favor of the environment: The creation of dunes through Vida Marina and reforestation with endemic plants through our work at FirstBank, helping to create a barrier to prevent coastal erosion,” Betancourt explained.

Since its inception on Oct. 6, “we’ve already planted 4,215 trees in eight planting events between Isabela, Loíza, Camuy and Manatí — all thanks to the efforts of our allies,” she added.

The organizations supporting the initiative include the Boy Scouts of America, Ecoexploratorio, Fundación Amigos del Yunque, Girl Scouts of the Caribe, Organización Pro-Ambiente Sustentable (OPAS), Scuba Dogs Society, United Way of Puerto Rico, Academia María Reina, The Baldwin School, Universidad Politécnica, Assurant, Stellantis, Empresas Santana, the Puerto Rico Department of Education, and the municipalities of Camuy, Isabela, Loíza, Luquillo, Manatí and Quebradillas.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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