27 September 2022 – BLUU Car Rental (BCR) is one of South Africa’s largest car rental companies, and an integral part of the tourism industry. However, their core mission is not just about getting people from “A” to “B”. The company recently formed a Smart ESG partnership with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) which aims to green desertified, barren landscapes across the country in aid of ecotourism.
World Tourism Day took place on 27 September, 2022. The momentous day raises awareness of the need for sustainable and accessible tourism all over the planet. The events that take place globally highlight the shift towards tourism being recognized as a crucial pillar of socio-economic development and environmental sustainability. To honour this day, and solidify their commitment to making ecotourism green again, BCR and FTFA planted a number of indigenous trees in the Eastern Cape.
One thousand trees were distributed to vulnerable, rural communities in the Eastern Cape. Another 1000 trees were planted at FTFA’s Stutterheim Afforestation project in the Kologha Forest. The total carbon emissions sequestrated by this initiative is 738 tonnes – that’s equivalent to the emissions of driving 160 standard passenger cars for a full year. Emafini Primary School in Gqeberha was host to one of BCR’s tree-planting events where 17 enthusiastic volunteers planted 30 trees at the under-resourced school.
“Everyone in the tourism sector has a role to play in accelerating climate action. This means putting people and the planet first and bringing everyone together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector. Food & Trees for Africa is proud to be working with a company that understands the need to invest in all stakeholders and the environment,” says Susan Evans, Tree Distribution and Events Manager for Food & Trees for Africa.
BCR has already distributed and planted over 4000 trees in the last three months, sequestering 1476 tonnes of CO² to date. Three thousand trees were planted throughout September to honour Arbor Day and South Africa’s natural heritage. This came after the planting of 1000 trees on World Nature Conservation Day in July. Additionally, BCR will be distributing 100 Gardens in a Bucket (GinBs) for World Food Month in October.
“The BLUU Team has had a wonderful time planting these trees in their communities, and the warm welcome and gratitude shown by everyone involved has been humbling. I can think of no better way to celebrate Tourism Month which plays such an integral part in our business, as well as South Africa’s economy as a whole,” says Lindsay Versfeld, Marketing and Partnership Manager at BLUU Car Rental.
Tourism and planting trees go hand-in-hand. Without trees other parts of the natural ecosystem would not survive, biodiversity would not flourish, landscapes would become desertified, and there would be very little nature for tourists to admire. Trees provide excellent homes for a wide range of animals. For instance, the Kologha Forest is home to bushpig, bats, monkeys, duiker and numerous birds. The diversity of the environment provides shelter for several endangered or rare species including the Cape Parrot, Samango Monkey, Hogsback Frog, Amatola Toad, Kubusie Damsel, Keilandia (scorpion), Golden Mole, and Penningtons Opal Butterfly.
However, even this forest – South Africa’s second largest forest – is not immune to the increasingly harmful impacts of climate change and environmental destruction. The earth is gradually losing its biodiversity as species become endangered or displaced from their natural habitat. One of the best ways to halt and reverse this is by following BCR’s example and planting more trees in the right places. Together BCR and FTFA are helping to regenerate South Africa’s natural resources, and ensure a sustainable future for the tourism industry and the country as a whole.