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This Arbor Month, Konica Minolta South Africa celebrates a milestone and recognises over ten years of planting 42,218 trees with Food and Trees for Africa, which estimates an offset of 15,578 tons of CO2e.
Ten years ago, Konica Minolta South Africa a division of Bidvest Office (Pty) Ltd (KMSA) partnered with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) to plant 3,500 trees in and around Orange Farm, an informal settlement about 45km outside of Johannesburg. This month, they marked Arbor Month by returning to the area to celebrate a decade of greening South Africa and donating a further 2,000 trees to the Orange Farm community – a significant milestone.
At an event at Leshata Secondary School on 26th September 2018, KMSA staff as well as members of their exco and management team and FTFA, planted 20 new trees along with the pupils, before taking a walk to view some of the trees planted at homes ten years before. School principal Mr. Molelekoa addressed the guests and pupils; “The donated trees from KMSA are very welcome, as they provide shade and make the school a more pleasant environment. Celebrating this event also helps to make our children aware of the importance of trees and nature.”
Community members were also in attendance, one of whom was Gogo Lizzy Maphutsi, who has been benefitting from the trees originally planted by KMSA ten years ago. She bottles and sells peaches from these trees, which were planted in the grounds of her crèche all those years ago.
“KMSA’s commitment this Arbor Month was to plant a total of 2,000 trees in the Orange Farm, Sebokeng and Evaton areas, benefitting approximately 66 schools,” says Ritchi Smith, national marketing co-ordinator, Konica Minolta South Africa. “Along with planting new trees, we visited some of the homes where trees were planted a decade ago and met the residents who are benefitting from them, giving us a real sense of the legacy this initiative has forged.”
Over the past ten years, KMSA have donated a total of 42,218 trees, which included; 4,600 bamboo and 124 tree equivalent spekboom, both of which are particularly effective at removing carbon from the atmosphere. The project estimates that the planting has offset around 15,578 tons of CO2e, thereby enabling KMSA’s to achieve a carbon neutral footprint, in line with their broader commitment to sustainable business practices.
Food & Trees for Africa is an organisation dedicated to addressing food security and environmental sustainability, while also emphasising education and skills training.
Not only do trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide, thereby mitigating global warming, they also help to prevent water runoff and erosion, improve air quality and provide much needed shade and shelter on hot summer days. And, in the case of fruit trees, they supply a source of healthy food.
Konica Minolta’s ongoing donations have reached 787 beneficiary organisations, including 757 schools and 30 community centres as well as 11,639 homes. Moreover, 129 community educators have been trained and educated through the tree planting activities. “We had a great deal to celebrate, this Arbor Month. We are fortunate to partner with an NGO such as FTFA, that supports the environment and changes the lives of people across South Africa. We look forward to further growth in the next decade,” concludes Smith.