In line with its promise to run its business in the most sustainable way – from an environmental, social and economic perspective – Bidvest company, Konica Minolta South Africa, has been supporting South Africa’s national greening and food gardening social enterprise, Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), for five years and has most recently planted 2,008 trees at impoverished schools in the Cape Town and Paarl region.
This brings the total of trees donated by the company to 17,678 and illustrates its vow to taking proactive steps against global warming.
According to Konica Minolta South Africa employees, Carol Harris, Cape Town branch secretary and Peter Gdanis, Paarl branch manager, FTFA selected Caravelle Primary School, Hillside Primary School, Wavecrest Primary School, Eisleben Road Primary School, Mboniselo Primary School and Langabuya Primary School to be the recipients of the indigenous and fruit trees.
“Konica Minolta South Africa employees got thoroughly involved with the planting of the trees,” says Harris. “From here, the trees become the responsibility of the teachers, learners and caretakers – yet, we will still remain involved, both with the schools and the community.
“The main purpose of indigenous or fruit trees is to provide shade for the school children, to sit and play beneath during our hot summer months – as well as their guardians as they wait to fetch the children. They will of course also beautify the school and its surroundings.”
The partnership with FTFA began in 2008 when Konica Minolta South Africa contributed 4,100 trees to Orange Farm, a large informal settlement located about 45 kilometres from Johannesburg. As a result of the success of the project, and the need to offset more carbon dioxide emissions, Konica Minolta South Africa committed to planting further trees in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Western Cape regions.
The 17,678 trees have been distributed through FTFA’s Trees for Homes initiative, a registered carbon offset programme under the Carbon Protocol of South Africa. By taking travel, electricity and paper usage into account, the FTFA online carbon calculator provides a high level estimation of a company’s annual carbon footprint as well as the number of trees it will take to absorb that amount of carbon.
“During the recent planting at the Cape Town and Paarl schools, the gratitude and respect shown by the various principals, teachers and learners were evident. It also showed us how much ‘mother nature’ means to us,” says Harris.
Adds Alan Griffith, Konica Minolta South Africa MD: “As part of our corporate social investment initiative, we have committed to the FTFA Carbon Offset programme in an effort to further offset our carbon emissions and one of the best ways to do this is by planting trees. In addition to absorbing carbon dioxide, one of the most important green house gases, these trees provide many other environmental and social benefits such as preventing water runoff and erosion, settling the dust, providing shade and shelter, lessening noise and beautifying neighbourhoods.
“This initiative has proven to be so successful, that Konica Minolta South Africa has, in fact, reached ‘carbon neutral’ status,” he states.
The trees will also be registered with the United Nations Billion Tree programme, which already has registered 10 billion trees, more than one per person on the planet.