Heineken South Africa celebrated National Arbour Month with a symbolic tree-planting ceremony. This took place in collaboration with food security and urban greening NPO, Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA) at the Thusanang Farming Project in the Khayelitsha informal settlement near the company’s Sedibeng brewery.
Arbour Week, in the first week of September, aims to emphasise the significance of trees and the need to plant indigenous trees across the country. Arbour Week also creates the opportunity for the public, the commercial sector, community organisations, and government to work together to advance environmental conservation.
Heineken's observance of Arbour Week included a ceremonial handing over of an indigenous tree to Thusanag, as well as education to mobilise the local community to become conservationists. Together with FTFA, Heineken will supply Thusanag with further trees, seedlings, fencing, irrigation systems, gardening tools and equipment and workshops for local skills development. Heineken’s support includes the planting of a food garden at partnership with the Midvaal Local Municipality to aid in their crop farming endeavours and help ensure food security and the sustainability of local communities and surrounding areas.
To propel sustainable growth, these trees are in addition to the 415 (49 fruit trees and 366 indigenous) trees that Heineken has planted in Gauteng to offset nearly 153.13 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) in the province over time. In synergy with partners who have comparable sustainability goals, Heineken donated trees to 27 beneficiary groups in and around the inner-city area of Johannesburg. This year's designated recipient, Thusanang Farming Project, started in 2018, and was identified as an important community organisation.
In her speech during the ceremony, Tutu Malinga, sustainability manager at Heineken South Africa, said, “National Arbour Week is an auspicious time to call on all South Africans to plant indigenous trees as a practical gesture of sustainable environmental leadership. This commitment also shows Heineken strives to be a leading example, supporting the communities in which we operate.”
She added that “Heineken has pledged to Brew a Better World by reducing our carbon footprint. We have also committed to promoting and pioneering green initiatives – ultimately realising our global goal to become net zero across our value chain by 2040.”
According to Tshidi Morake, co-manager of the Thusanang Farming Project, "Through this project, we've given community members a platform to thrive and an opportunity to learn about food gardening, giving them access to healthy produce and the know-how to cultivate it themselves.”
Following the tree-planting demonstration, Midvaal Local Municipality Ward Councillor Mariana Kruger spoke about the concerted effort made by Heineken to ensure that communities are aware of the importance of indigenous trees and local farming. Kruger also expressed that she was grateful for the brewer’s support of the local ward, as this initiative would accelerate the upskilling of local community members.
As she concluded her speech, Kruger reiterated that "agriculture is the backbone of community development and fosters a strong culture of community building, and is vital to our region.”
#ArbourWeek #BrewABetterWorld #TowardsHealthyWatersheds #Sustainability