By: Amanda Mkhize.

Many people agree that one of the most rewarding ecological activity one can do to improve the planet is getting your hands dirty and planting trees. We have seen significantly more partnerships between individuals and organisations in recent years to bring social, environmental, and economic change directly to communities, and Konica Minolta South Africa is no exception.

In order to reaffirm its commitment to fostering a greener society and its net zero carbon footprint, Konica Minolta South Africa hosted a tree planting event at the Reunion School for Cerebral Palsied Learners in the community of Isipingo in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

A total of 50 trees were offered in the handover – 40 fruit trees and 10 indigenous shade trees – as part of Konica Minolta South Africa’s ongoing partnership with the food security and urban greening Non-Profit Social Enterprise, Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA). The donation is timely as it coincides with the observance of Disability Rights Awareness Month this November, which this year focuses on “empowering persons with disabilities through sustainable and safe practices.” Certainly, creating a sustainable outdoor classroom in nature is the epitome of sustainable practice.

During the handover ceremony, Peter Ziqubu, Account Manager at Konica Minolta South Africa, said that each tree serves as a carbon ecosystem which will reduce the impact on the environment and help to restore biodiversity in and around the school. “We are here today at Reunion School to give back to the Isipingo community as part of Konica Minolta South Africa’s efforts to build resilient ecosystems in KZN,” Peter said.

“Besides adding oxygen, shade, and shelter, we are creating an interactive natural learning environment for the young minds, he added. “The project will encourage learners to participate in activities that will improve their mental and physical health, such as planting trees and recycling organic and inorganic waste,” he said in closing.

Susan Evans, Event & Tree Distribution Manager at Food and Trees for Africa elaborated and offered a philosophical perspective, emphasising that planting trees should be seen as a tool to support social and individual empowerment. “Each tree planted is a voice and is our way of saying yes to a brighter future.”

As a non-profit organization, FTFA works towards a healthier, food secure future by developing programs and initiatives that promote natural resource management, organic farming, and food security, as well as sustainable enterprise development.

Konica Minolta and FTFA’s partnership will also educate learners on proper watering and care of trees so that they can survive the uncertain local climate and thrive for many years ahead.

Mrs. Makhanye, a teacher at Reunion School for Cerebral Palsied Learners closed the ceremony by remarking that the initiative will unquestionably improve the atmosphere and health conditions at the school.

In an effort to contribute to a cleaner society and grow the pool of green sustainability across the country, Konica Minolta South Africa has planted 63429 trees since 2008, offsetting an estimated total of 23,405.53 tonnes CO2e.

Beyond this, Konica Minolta doing its part to stop e-waste and pollution across its value-chain. Through its Toner Recycling Project, the printing solutions company seeks to address the waste created by toner bottles and cartridges that are not recyclable, reusable, or refillable. This project has saved more than 90 tons of used toner bottles, cartridges, and imaging units from landfills.


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