M&D Construction Group again demonstrated its firm commitment to the environment, as well as sustainable development by planting many indigenous trees at 11 of its construction sites in eight different provinces for Arbor Week from 1 to 7 September 2019.

Importantly, Lance Cox, M&D Construction Group’s Safety Health Environment Risk & Quality Manager, says that the group wanted to ensure that the initiative also had a profound positive social and economic impact, over-and-above only promoting the importance of preserving the environment and sustainable development.

 “All of the indigenous trees were bought from small local businesses to stimulate small, medium and micro enterprises and planted by representatives of our own teams with the help of members of communities within the immediate vicinity of our project sites. These important social and economic objectives were complemented by the significant awareness that we created around the importance of trees. This includes the role that they play in producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. An average size tree, for example, creates enough oxygen for an entire family in a single year. Planting 20-million more trees will, therefore, provide 260-million additional tonnes of oxygen and, just as importantly, remove over 10-million tonnes of CO2 from the environment,” Cox says.

Notably, M&D Construction Group also involved client bodies and various specialists at some of the construction sites to further maximise the impact of this initiative.

For example, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality, ECO and EndemicVision Environmental Services helped M&D Construction Group buy and plant five Camel Thorn (Vachellia erioloba) and five Karree trees (Searsia lancea) at the new Vryburg Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) construction site. This is in addition to the White Stinkwood (Celtis Africana) that M&D Construction Group contributed towards this specific project location.

Meanwhile, EdemicVision Environmental Services also trained community members and employees on how to plant and preserve trees, in addition to creating awareness of the important role that they play in the environment.  This ensured community buy-in and long-term sustainability of the initiative.

Notably, M&D Construction Group also received “thumbs up” from Alistair Hunter, an Umgeni Water Environmental Specialist, for planting a River indigo (Indigofera jucunda) at a construction site in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. This tree easily adapts to its environment, is “water-wise” and provides an important habitat for many different bird and insect species. Moreover, it is used to produce traditional medicines and planted on special occasions, such as religious celebrations.

Hunter was equally impressed by the enthusiasm displayed by all representatives of the M&D Construction Group team who partook in the initiative.

Cox says, “Importantly, this nationwide initiative provided another opportunity for us to build team spirit. At this site, for example, our storeman, Michion Mthanalane, dug the pit and safety representative, Virginia Mnikathi, as well as our own Sandile Mlotchwa, Sabelo Ngubane, Hanson Molefe and Mphumalelo Ngubane helped backfill, while receiving support from their colleagues. In a true spirit of our motto, “Khula Nathi”, Xolani Dlamini, a Supervisor at Syamzamo, was also invited to participate as the nominated representative of all of our sub-contractors on this project.”

Similar comradery was demonstrated by the team of M&D Construction Group employees who planted a White stinkwood (Celtis Africana) at the site of the new water tower that is being built in Aeroton on behalf of Johannesburg Water.

Moreover, Johannesburg Water invited M&D Construction Group to partake in the planting of many indigenous tree species at the Goudkoppies WWTW site as part of its own initiative for this year’s Arbor Week.

At the event, M&D Construction Group’s Macdonald Sedimo also received an award from the municipal entity for his outstanding performance as a Safety Health & Environment Officer on the Aeroton water tower project. This is just one of a number of accolades this leading contractor and its team members have received over the years for the part that they have played in creating a safe and environmentally-friendly local construction industry.

M&D Construction Group also invited employees from a library in Paarl and social services organisation, Drakenstein SNAC, to help plant Wild olive (Olea Africana), White pear (Apodytes Dimidiata), Camphor bush (Tarconanthus Camphoratus) and Fever tree (Acacia Xanthophloea) at a reservoir construction site in Langerug, Western Cape.

Meanwhile, Rand Water’s Environmental Control Officer, Kealeboga Mmutle,

 joined the M&D Construction Group team, including Cox and Jacques De Coning, a Construction Manager with the company, to plant a False Olive tree (Buddleja saligna) at the Pump Station Five site.

These were complemented by the efforts of M&D Construction Group teams stationed at other project sites in the country.

For example, a Cape ash (Ekebergia capensis) was planted at a clinic in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, and a Blue Guarri (Euclea crispa) at a healthcare facility in Bizana, Eastern Cape, as it has been proven that patients who have a view of trees require less medication and heal significantly faster.

Four White stinkwoods (Celtis Africana) were also planted in Lothair, Mpumalanga, where M&D Construction Group is building a state-of-the-art engineered-board plant for the FX Group and a Chinese investor. As a leading participant in the South African timber supply chain, including the production of sustainable construction materials, the FX Group can attest to the major contribution made by the South African forestry industry towards local economic development, including job creation.

M&D Construction Group also planted a Quiver tree (Aloe Dichotoma) at a construction site in Gamsberg, Northern Cape, and a Yellow wood (Afrocarpus falcatus) at a location in Kleksdorp, North West.

Rukesh Raghubir, Chief Executive Officer of M&D Construction Group, lauds his team’s involvement in yet another very successful corporate-social investment programme.

“‘Greening’ is more than just a ‘buzzword’. Companies have fast realised that it also makes sound business sense. For example, three trees positioned in the correct place around a building can reduce air-conditioning costs by as much as 50%. They are also known to increase the value of property, with houses surrounded by trees valued at up to 25% more than those without. Meanwhile, studies have also shown that consumers tend to favour those retail outlets that are surrounded by trees. This is reflected by increased dwell time and retail sales at these developments. Importantly, trees also make us feel good and people are, therefore, more productive when they see trees along their commute route or from their office window,” Raghubir concludes.