Afrox has teamed up with non-profit organisations in a project to turn unwanted clothes into 100 fruit and other indigenous trees at five schools in Port Elizabeth.

“Our commitment to the people of PE and the Eastern Cape is ongoing and this latest project reflects our ethos that business working with communities to support the environment go hand-in-hand,” said Afrox Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Tersia Baasden.

“Afrox is investing R300m in a new state-of-the-art air separation unit in Port Elizabeth and it is only natural for us to assist and support the communities in which we operate – and planting 100 trees at five schools to involve young people in our environment is just the tip of our support for the communities of the Eastern Cape.”

The project was run in conjunction with Clothes to Cash Exchange (C2CX), Food & Trees for Africa and UTI couriers.

Tersia added, “This project is driven by Afrox people whom we invited to donate old and unused clothing. Their response was amazing and by the cut-off date we raised enough for 100 life-giving trees.”

C2CX buys the clothes from Afrox, to add to the proceeds used to buy trees from Food & Trees for Africa. This allows Afrox staff to participate in the programme.  In addition to the tree planting C2CX recycles the clothes to create jobs (i.e. sorting, washing and baling the clothes) and help create micro-businesses that re-sell the clothes.  In this way greater benefit is achieved for all involved in the value chain.

Food & Trees for Africa also helped us to identify the five schools in need of tree cover and we’re very proud to be able to make this wish come true for them today,” continued Tersia.

Afrox’s corporate volunteering programme has been running since 1994 and this was an opportunity for Afrox people to personally contribute to a truly worthwhile cause. The planting of these trees will greatly benefit the environment and help decrease Afrox’s carbon footprint in the area, said Tersia.

Stephen Moran, Afrox’s Head of Safety, Health, Environmental and Quality, said, “This initiative in support of Arbour month achieved a positive environmental impact and supports our sustainability goals regarding good corporate citizenship, developing employment opportunities and supporting local communities.”

Afrox is committed to achieving energy savings and, to focus efforts on this critical issue, an environmental campaign was launched on World Environment Day in June this year that highlights energy and water conservation, as well as waste reduction, both at work and at home.

The environmental campaign aims to increase awareness, help identify and execute cost-saving opportunities, encourage action through reduction targets, change behaviours around conservation and the environment and gain a better understanding of its responsibilities, both as a company and as individuals.