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Willard Batteries & FTFA reduce Gauteng urban heat island by planting hundreds of trees

PRESS RELEASE

DATE: 12 AUGUST 2021

Willard Batteries and Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) have planted 750 fruit trees in Buhle Park in Gauteng, benefiting homes, schools and the entire community. The project heralds a re-igniting of the partnership, which has greened communities in many under-resourced areas in South Africa.

In South Africa, trees, greenery and parks are unevenly distributed, and many people in the country – often in poorer areas – lack the trees and green spaces that others may take for granted. Planting a tree in a city improves the health of each person who sees it. From reducing crime and improving well-being to protection against the consequences of climate change, urban tree planting is becoming increasingly important. FTFA, a food security, environmental sustainability and greening non-profit organisation, has planted more than 4-million trees in communities around South Africa over the last 30 years.

Through Willard Batteries’ generous donation, Willard and FTFA employees distributed 740 fruit trees to 370 homes in the Buhle Park community. Over the next 40 years, these trees will absorb more than 270 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and reduce the heat-island effect within the community. Urbanised areas, with the concrete buildings, pavements and roads, absorb and trap heat, making them hotter than the surrounding countryside. Tree-planting initiatives create much needed shade and cooler temperatures in these areas. The remaining 10 trees were planted at the Buhle Park Primary School through FTFA’s award-winning Trees for All programme. 

Community greening through tree-planting has numerous, profoundly positive effects for residents. From improving local environmental conditions, such as improved air quality, increased dust suppression and reduced run-off and flooding during heavy rains, to increasing property values and mental well-being, the positive impacts are myriad. Furthermore, by planting a variety of fruit trees, Willard has added improved long-term food security and nutrition to the list of benefits. Every tree planted is also another step towards alleviating the negative impacts being experienced globally as a result of the unsustainable rates of deforestation.” – Mike Pierce, Junior Manager of FTFA’s Trees Department

As part of the Willard Batteries green initiative, FTFA trained seven unemployed residents as community educators and instructed them in tree-planting and basic tree care. On three pre-arranged dates during the lifespan of the project, which will run until February 2022, they will travel door-to-door to spread awareness about climate change and community greening, as well as assist FTFA to track the health of the new trees.

About Willard Batteries

Willard Batteries is a 100% South African battery company. Rated amongst consumers as their car battery brand of choice, Willard Batteries supplies the original and replacement markets with a comprehensive range of premium quality automotive batteries. The company has a history of giving back to the community. It made a significant contribution with the Go Green, Go Willard campaign which helped raise funds for Food & Trees for Africa and which helped plant thousands of trees in schools and other areas across South Africa.

About Food & Trees for Africa

Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) is a leading Section 21 Non-Profit Social Enterprise that addresses food security and environmental sustainability. Having been in South African social development for 27 years, FTFA highlights education and skills training integrated with sensitive mentorship and phased support. With initiatives that address climate change and greening, promote natural resource management, organic farming and food security and sustainable enterprise development – FTFA understands what it takes to achieve real, long-term sustainability and make a positive difference to the lives of all South Africans.

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