Nelson Mandela Bay’s iconic Donkin Reserve will become a cool oasis of shade and greenery as a tree-planting initiative brings trees to locations across the metro and reduces NMB’s carbon footprint in the process.
PORT ELIZABETH, 18 July 2019 – As part of an ongoing partnership between Konica Minolta South Africa and Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), Konica Minolta in Port Elizabeth will be bringing more greenery to PE, and having an environmental impact well beyond the neighbourhood.
The Donkin Reserve, which overlooks the Bay from Belmont Terrace, is home to Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, historic monuments like the Stone Pyramid and the Lighthouse, as well as fascinating installation art celebrating democratic South Africa. The prominent hilltop is in an exposed part of the city, and has been a windy, barren space in the past.
Konica Minolta’s branch in Port Elizabeth and FTFA will be planting a total of 601 trees around the metro – at The Donkin Reserve, St Dominic’s Priory, and 16 other schools, offsetting an estimated 221 tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
On 18 July, in celebration of Nelson Mandela Day, tree planting ceremonies took place at The Donkin Reserve and at St Dominic’s Priory. The pupils enthusiastically came together to plant 20 trees at their school and the initiative served to educate the pupils on the importance of protecting the environment and the benefits of minimising our carbon footprint.
School principal Father Grant James said; "On behalf of St Dominic's Priory School, I would like to thank Konica Minolta, Port Elizabeth branch and Food & Trees for Africa for their donation of 20 trees. Educating children about the importance of planting and caring for trees is part of our mission to be faithful stewards of the world that God has gifted us with. This ceremony aptly falls on Nelson Mandela Day - a time when we remember the legacy of a man who thought beyond his own needs and wanted to ensure the well-being of future generations. By planting trees today, we too play a vital role in fostering a healthy planet for future generations to come.”
Mcebisi Ncalu, Facilities and Area Manager for the Mandela Bay Development Agency, which runs The Donkin Reserve, was highly appreciative of the donation. “Port Elizabeth is known as the Windy City, and the trees that have been planted will help create a barrier against the devastation that the force of the wind sometimes brings,” he said. “This occasion also marks Nelson Mandela’s 101st birthday, therefore, Konica Minolta and Food & Trees for Africa have matched this number in trees, bringing renewed life back into the area.”
“We’re proud to be able to make an environmental contribution to Nelson Mandela Bay and local schools,” said Ritchi Smith, national marketing co-ordinator for Konica Minolta South Africa. “Our partnership with FTFA has been going for more than a decade and has enriched community spaces across the country while helping to offset carbon emissions and fight global warming.”
This announcement comes soon after the Carbon Tax Act came into effect, imposing taxes on companies according to their carbon emissions, and encouraging organisations to reduce their carbon footprint. Organisations can do this by taking steps to reduce their emissions, for example, offsetting these emissions by planting trees, which function as “carbon sinks”, absorbing greenhouse gases and producing oxygen.
A total of 46 001 trees, including 4 730 bamboo and tree-equivalent spekboom plants, have been planted since the start of this initiative in 2008. The planting has offset an estimated 16 974 tons of CO2e, enabling Konica Minolta to achieve carbon-neutral status, mitigating global warming and improving air quality, in line with its broader commitment to sustainable business practices.
Konica Minolta South Africa’s ongoing tree donation has reached 908 beneficiary organisations, including 866 schools and 42 community centres, as well as 11 639 homes. With the programme’s focus on sustainability, 129 community educators have been trained through the tree-planting activities and are now empowered to take the initiative forward across the country.