In line with its promise to operate in the most sustainable way – from an environmental, social and economic perspective – Bidvest company, Konica Minolta South Africa, has been supporting South Africa’s national greening and food gardening social enterprise, Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), for five years and has most recently planted 2,013 trees at impoverished schools in the Polokwane and Kimberley regions.
This brings the total of trees donated by the company to 17,678 and illustrates its commitment to taking proactive steps against global warming.
According to Konica Minolta South Africa employees, Morne Etchell, Polokwane branch manager and Gerhard Kruger, Kimberley branch manager, FTFA selected nine schools in Polokwane, Limpopo, and 38 in and around Kimberley in the Northern Cape to receive the indigenous and fruit trees.
“Before the trees were planted, the school children were educated on the importance of proper ground preparation, planting techniques and aftercare. This will ensure that the trees will flourish and will be enjoyed by generations to come. This complemented the schools’ own teachings on nature and sustainability. Now the trees become the responsibility of the school – but, we will still remain involved, with both the schools and the community,” says Kruger.
“Konica Minolta South Africa employees got thoroughly involved with the planting of the trees along with the schools’ staff and children, and found it to be a greatly rewarding experience,” says Etchell. “The primary purpose of the trees is to provide shade for the school children, to sit and play beneath during the hot summer months, but they also beautify the school and its surroundings.”
The beautification of schools has been linked to improved academic performance. According to a 2010 study, “Student performance and high school landscapes: Examining the links”, students performed better academically at schools with more nature around it; they were more likely to graduate and less likely to commit a crime.
The partnership with FTFA began in 2008 when Konica Minolta South Africa contributed 4,100 trees to Orange Farm, a large informal settlement located about 45 kilometres from Johannesburg. As a result of the success of the project, and the need to offset more carbon dioxide emissions, Konica Minolta South Africa committed to planting further trees in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Western Cape regions.
So far 11,000 trees have been distributed through FTFA’s Trees for Homes initiative, which is a registered carbon offset programme under the Carbon Protocol of South Africa. The remaining 6,678 trees have been distributed through the Trees for All initiative. By taking travel, electricity and paper usage into account, the FTFA online carbon calculator provides a high level estimation of a company’s annual carbon footprint as well as the number of trees it will take to absorb that amount of carbon.
Adds Alan Griffith, Konica Minolta South Africa MD, “As part of our corporate social investment initiative, we have committed to the FTFA Carbon Offset programme in an effort to further offset our carbon emissions and one of the best ways to do this is by planting trees. This initiative has proven to be so successful, that Konica Minolta South Africa reached ‘carbon neutral’ status last year. In addition to absorbing carbon dioxide, one of the most important greenhouse gases, these trees provide many other environmental and social benefits such as preventing water runoff and erosion, settling the dust, providing shade and shelter, lessening noise and beautifying neighbourhoods.
“Plus, we know that a few trees planted around a school can boost academic achievement, diminish delinquency, and do so inexpensively. In isolation, it’s not going to solve the problems that plague many of our schools, but planting trees is so simple that it would be senseless to ignore,” he states.
Picture the scene: you’ve overslept by half an hour. Time ticks by as you rush to get dressed but can’t find anything that fits properly (despite the fact that your cupboard is completely overflowing), and anything that does fit is outdated and boring. The good news is that help is at hand, and looking and feeling good is really quite simple. All you need to do is follow a few easy steps.
Believe it or not, it starts from the inside. If you feel good about yourself, chances are you’ll look good too. It all begins with confidence. If you’re happy and confident, others will see it too – so be yourself and focus on your good points instead of wasting your time and energy focusing on your flaws.
Being healthy on the inside has a lot to do with what, and how, you eat. With the right ingredients, you can indulge in all your favourite desserts too – that is in moderation of course. The secret lies in looking for healthier alternatives to use in your cooking, of which there are many. For instance, Canderel Green, a low kilojoule sweetener, sweetened with extracts from the South American Stevia plant, is a useful alternative to sugar, and what’s more, it contains virtually no carbohydrates. Other healthy substitutions include choosing whole wheat breads and pastas, swapping one whole egg for two egg whites to decrease cholesterol, and using canola or olive oil to replace butter but mimic the flavour.
So, you’ve worked on building a happy and confident attitude and made a few important changes to your diet, now there’s just one thing left to do – get moving. Exercise doesn’t need to take much time; in fact, it’s relatively easy to make a few changes to your everyday routine to keep you fit and healthy.
Starting the day with a walk is good start, even if you park your car in the furthest parking spot to increase the distance you need to walk to reach your destination. Forget about lifts and take the stairs whenever you can, it’s a quick way to get that heart pumping. Don’t be tempted to use your desk job as an excuse. A few buttock clenches will keep you looking firm and toned. Squeeze and release for five seconds and repeat 10 times, three times a day. There’s never a reason to keep still and you will be amazed at how much you can move your body, even when you’re talking on the phone.
The new you is almost ready to go, but you may just want to add a few new items to your wardrobe to complete the picture. Remember that shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. Get an idea of styles you like by reading magazines and browsing the internet, and shop with these in mind. The key to shopping is not to dress for fashion, but to dress for style. Buy classic, quality pieces that best suit your body shape, remembering that true style has nothing to do with shape, so dress to make the most of your good points.
Here’s to your new image. All it takes are a few small changes and the knowledge that it all comes from within.
With increasing workplace injuries and disorders due to bad postures from workstations, ergonomics and wellbeing within the workplace have never been so important.
With a strong heritage in researching and designing products for the workplace for almost 100 years, Herman Miller has gained insight into what people need around them to make them work more efficiently, collaboratively and comfortably. As the demands placed on both workplace and employees increase, every element of the working environment needs to support the way we work more efficiently.
The belief at Herman Miller is that it is possible to feel good at work by listening to the human body and understanding the link between comfort, health and productivity. Herman Miller has long led the field in ergonomic design by taking the time to understand working style and resulting health issues in the workplace.
The world renowned furniture company has unveiled a new portfolio of products that is set to keep businesses across South Africa performing at their best by helping their people Thrive in the office.
Widely regarded as the pioneers in workspace ergonomics, Herman Miller revealed its new Thrive portfolio at showcases in Observatory, Cape Town and Sandton Johannesburg. Thrive brings together years of industry-leading research into how people work and features designs by global experts.
Designs that synchronise with the human body to help employees feel better and work better
Herman Miller’s Thrive portfolio has been designed to address the pressures put on the individual from the reduction of their personal workspace and the increased role of technology in their day to day activities.
Broken down into four key categories of seating, technology support, tables and lighting, Thrive combines these elements to promote healthy working.
Firstly, Thrive addresses ergonomic seating needs, through the most innovative office chairs ever produced with trademarked science that allows them to provide optimal support while eliminating pressure points. With iconic designs such as SAYL and Aeron chairs included in the collection.
Secondly, Thrive offers solutions to help technology fit the user, from monitor arms to dynamic monitor supports, offering a solution to the bad postures that result from the increased use of technology in the workspace.
Performance tables such as the Everywhere range allow people to switch their posture any time they like.
The final key element in the Thrive portfolio is the task light. Personalised lights dramatically reduce eyestrain, and support attachments that enable people to tailor their workstation to their own personal needs.
Rob Keddie, Herman Miller Regional Director – Middle East and Africa, commented, “Back in the 1960s, long before the term ergonomics was widely known, George Nelson designed a stand-up, roll-top desk for our Action Office line because he intuitively understood that he worked better if he was able to stand and move around.
“This launch in South Africa represents a huge milestone on our journey to aiding businesses to help their people feel supported, comfortable and happy at work. But it is just one step, and at Herman Miller we’ll continue to work with best in class designers and scientists to keep leading the field in developing ergonomic solutions.”
Herman Miller’s Thrive portfolio of ergonomic furnishings and fittings for the workplace will be available exclusively through All Office showrooms in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Herman Miller has a highly trained sales lead ready to conduct bespoke workplace evaluations and ergonomic training with support from the All Office sales team.