JOHANNESBURG – September 8, 2008 – Bidvest company, Konica Minolta South Africa celebrated Arbor Week 2008 alongside learners from Laus Deo Primary School in Orange Farm, where the company planted 40 trees.
Partnering with South Africa’s national greening and food gardening organisation, Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), Konica Minolta South Africa will plant 4 100 trees before the end of this year in an effort to offset its carbon emissions.
The bulk of these, 3 500 trees, will be distributed through the Trees for Homes initiative, which aims to develop sustainable settlements through the planting of indigenous or fruit trees in under-served communities to help with food security and shelter. Another 600 trees will be planted as part of the National Tree Distribution campaign, which aims to assist in climate change mitigation in both urban and rural areas.
“We are not merely planting trees, but we are also educating the youth of South Africa about the benefits of trees and on how to care of them,” says Konica Minolta South Africa MD, Alan Griffith. “We are encouraging all 716 Laus Deo Primary students to take part in creating a greener school environment within which they can learn and play.
“As part of our Corporate Social Investment initiative, we have committed to the FTFA Carbon Standard programme in an effort to offset our carbon emissions. And one of the best ways to do this is by planting trees. In addition to absorbing and converting carbon dioxide, one of the most important green house gases, into oxygen, trees contribute to a host of environmental, economic and social benefits for communities and help protect water quality, prevent erosion, provide shade and shelter, restore ecosystems and enhance public areas,” he says.
By taking travel, electricity and paper usage into account, the FTFA online carbon calculator provides a high level estimation of companies’ annual carbon footprint as well as the number of trees it will take to absorb that amount of carbon. According to the organisation, various studies have indicated that an average indigenous tree planted in a standard urban environment in South Africa absorbs carbon exponentially as it grows over a period of about 15 years. In fact, on average 500kg of carbon is stored per tree.
“Our school is very grateful to Konica Minolta South Africa. It is a great privilege for us to receive these trees and watch them grow over the years. It will benefit many more learners well into the future,” says Laus Deo Primary School principle TJ Letuka.