Lafarge Gypsum recently concluded its national drive to plant trees all over the country as part of its Conference of the Parties (COP) 17 campaign. Close to a hundred trees were planted in Cape Town, Gauteng and Durban.
To do this, Lafarge established a close working relationship with Green Communities South Africa to support its carbon-reduction initiatives. Green Communities SA promotes social upliftment by creating sustainable urban green living environments in low-income housing settlements.
To this end, Green Communities SA backs the Green Belt Movement’s (GBM) international tree-planting campaign, I am the hummingbird. This initiative is in honour of Professor Wangari Maathai. The campaign involves the planting of one-billion trees, and seeks to mobilize and bring together Kenyans as well as people around the globe to participate in this environmental cause.
According to www.10000trees.org, each healthy tree can reduce airborne dust particles by as much as 7 000 particles per litre of air.
Following COP17 in Durban, the Green Belt Movement urged negotiators to demonstrate a real commitment to preserving standing indigenous forests. GBM also shared its practical experience of implementing forest-carbon projects, highlighting the challenges that rural communities have faced.
Lafarge Gypsum donated trees to rural developments identified in Witsands in the Western Cape and KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal. The company also planted 30 trees at its Roodekop plant in Gauteng to neutralise the dust and carbon emissions associated with the industrial process of making plasterboard.
Jean-Paul Croze, managing director of Lafarge Gypsum South Africa, echoed the sentiments of the global Lafarge Group when he said: “Lafarge is convinced that sustained economic growth cannot occur without social progress, environmental protection and respect for local communities.”
He said Lafarge is proud to have been presented with a certificate of carbon sequestration by Green Communities in a bid to offset carbon emissions. Climate savers – Let us clean the economy begin, an environmental campaign by Lafarge and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is now underway. The programme involves leading companies that are committed to reducing their CO² emissions by presenting them with an opportunity to show that economic growth and greenhouse gas reductions can go together. Lafarge was the first industrial player to become a WWF conservation partner when it signed a global partnership in 2000. First renewed in 2005, a new partnership was signed in 2009 for four years.
Lafarge was ranked sixth in the Carbon Disclosure Project and entered the global Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2010 in recognition of its sustainable development actions. The group was faced with a target of a 20% reduction of CO² per ton between 1990 and 2010 and surpassed this target by achieving a 21,7% reduction.