• Staff writer


South African consumers have been given the opportunity to shop more sustainably by carbon offsetter, ReSpek Nature, together with online retailer geewiz.co.za. in a first for both entities, shoppers will be shown a message at checkout, asking if they would like to offset the carbon footprint of their shopping basket by donating R10 to ReSpek Nature’s Spekboom planting programme in the Karoo.

Shoppers who respond positively will receive an electronic certificate confirming that they ‘planted’ a Spekboom in the Karoo, along with the GPS coordinates of exactly where it was planted on their behalf.

According to the Climate Collaborative (www.climatecollaborative.com), packaging accounts for about 5% of the energy used in the life cycle of a food product, making it a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. For some products, the packaging used has an even bigger impact on climate change than the fuel used to ship it to market. ReSpek Nature’s founder, Guy Lieberman, says that nature’s many mechanisms are very effective in absorbing carbon dioxide and locking it back into the soil, plant matter or the oceans.

Kathleen Smart, a researcher at the Rhodes Restoration Research Group, Department of Environmental Science, explains that plants breathe in carbon dioxide, using the carbon to grow, and the hardy Spekboom has the ability to take up carbon dioxide at night. This water saving ability plays a crucial role in helping to restore thicket vegetation.

Endemic to the Eastern Cape, Spekboom can survive in harsh environments, provide forage for animals, allow for water infiltration and prevent soil erosion. It is easily cultivated through cuttings or truncheons taken from the mature plant. A women’s co-op, New Horizons, sews the hessian pots into which the truncheons are planted to root

The ReSpek Nature-geewiz.co.za collaboration is being assisted by the Nahana Foundation, the corporate social investment arm of the Nahana Communications Group.


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