21 October  2022 – South Africa is the 12th highest emitter of pollutants responsible for climate change. Meanwhile the country already experiences the severe impacts of climate change, and Africa is changing faster than the global average. According to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), predictions indicate that critical global warming levels are likely to arrive within the next two decades. 

“We have recognised that the consequences of climate change will be catastrophic for the world, and for South Africa in particular”, said DFFE Minister, Barbara Creecy. A National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy has been developed, and the government has introduced a carbon tax targeting the carbon-intensive sector. 

However, South Africa needs more than just a curbing of its national carbon footprint to avoid further climate-induced disasters such as the April 2022 KwaZulu-Natal floods and landslides that caused the death of 448 people and destroyed 12 000 homes. South Africa requires a transition to a green economy, as well as increased investment in nature-based solutions if it is to slow climate change. Tree-planting is among some of the most effective nature-based strategies for sequestering carbon emissions that contribute to South Africa’s emissions. 

At the start of 2022, Global Payment Technologies (GPT) embarked on a journey with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) to help restore some of South Africa’s lost natural heritage, beginning with FTFA’s afforestation project in the Kologha Forest in Stutterheim, Eastern Cape. GPT’s overall smart ESG strategy involves a long-term tree-planting partnership with FTFA that has been rolled out throughout 2022, and will be completed for the year in November. 

As part of this partnership, GPT volunteers honoured International Day of Climate Action this October by planting trees in shared space. The volunteers took time out of their day to plant trees at a special event at Tswellang Special Intermediate School in the Free State. Since the beginning of the year 1270 trees have been planted in total across four provinces. GPT secured the sequestration of 468,63 tonnes of carbon dioxide through this partnership thus far, demonstrating their commitment to a carbon neutral, climate resilient future:

  • Afforestation in the Eastern Cape in June and August 2022: 460 trees, offsetting approximately 169,74 tonnes of CO₂
  • Tree-planting throughout the Western Cape in August 2022: 270 trees, offsetting approximately 99,63 tonnes of CO₂
  • Tree-planting throughout KwaZulu-Natal in September 2022: 270 trees, offsetting approximately 99,63 tonnes of CO₂
  • Tree-planting throughout the Free State in October 2022: 270 trees, offsetting approximately 99,63 tonnes of CO₂

“As a company, we recognise that it is essential we contribute toward mitigating the impacts that climate change has in our communities. People are the centre of our business, and are thus a critical resource that needs to be nurtured, developed and supported. The need to invest in our collective prosperity and enhance every aspect of our world for a greener future has become a critically important imperative.” says Lise Reed, GPT’s Transformation & Human Resources Manager.

“Water retention and flood management, carbon sequestration and ecosystem services are seriously undervalued benefits provided by trees. Trees make communities and the environment more resilient to climate change. By supporting ESG projects that enable the green economy, GPT is advancing South Africa towards a more sustainable future,” says Chris Wild, Executive Director at Food & Trees for Africa.

FTFA’s Trees for All programme is an award-winning programme that sustainably plants trees in shared spaces for a healthier, greener environment. This successful initiative educates communities about the benefits of trees, while offsetting carbon emissions and transforming the surrounding environment. 

Can you help us combat climate change? Donate to FTFA to plant more indigenous trees around South Africa (R170 per tree).

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