Festive Tree


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Festive Tree with IQ

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By Ingrid Glover and Kerrin Bain

Early on the 6th of December 2008, Bright Water Commons in Randburg was being set up for a day of excitement, fun and happiness. As over 140 volunteers filled up their energy tanks with a Scrooge’s breakfast before 495 children and 44 caregivers arrived, it could be sensed that this was going to be a day that will always be remembered in the minds of everyone involved. This was the day of IQ’s annual Festive Tree which, after a couple months of preparation, turned out to be a huge success!

This Festive Tree was slightly different from previous years as it was the first time that we intentionally followed a “greening” approach for the event and that the event was held at a venue that was central for volunteers and children, it had catering, fun activities, shelter, chairs and tables and other amenities on site which made logistics for the event much easier. This turned out to be very advantageous and allowed the Festive Tree activity team to focus on the coordination of events, building relationships with the sponsors and other third parties involved as well as creating a memorable day for the children.

The honoured guests of the day, from Berakah in Mamelodi and West Rand Veterans Association, arrived full of energy and were greeted by the clowns and their colour group’s chaperones. The first activity for the day was meeting Byron the Cheetah from De Wildt Cheetah Farm. The children were in awe of Byron and the message of protecting the environment was well received.

Then the chaperones rotated the children to the different activities: Adventure Golf, Beading, Eco Warriers, SOAPkidz, Drum Café drumming and Gladiators jumping castles.

While all of this was going on the DIY team were hard at work, advertising the Berakah School building initiative to the public to get their involvement and sponsorship. IQ also invited many of their corporate clients to the day to enhance their appreciation of the effort required and to gain a first hand view of the children who will benefit from this excellent initiative.

Then it was time for lunch, an unbelievable 750 lunches were served up. The children were then off to see Mr Bones 2 at the cinemas. This gave the volunteers some time to recuperate and get ready for Santa’s workshop.

After the movie, Santa and the elves arrived with 495 pairs of shoes, 404 environmentally-friendly chair bags, 61 environmentally-friendly pencil cases and a lot of stationery. The children were delighted! After all this excitement it was time to go home.

The weather played its part in making this event so successful by keeping the rain away the whole day and it only started storming when all the children where on the Putco buses on their way home.

The IQ Foundation extends a very big thank you to each IQ employee, family and friend who gave unconditionally through volunteering or sponsoring on the day. Thank you for your incredibly generous contributions towards the success of this wonderful initiative.

During 2008, IQ adopted an Environmental Policy, in which “we acknowledge the importance and fragility of our environment and commit to being industry leaders in managing our environment by preventing pollution, complying with environmental legislation, reducing our footprint, contributing to environmental sustainability and implementing initiatives for employees as well as our stakeholders to manage their own environment.”

With this in mind, the Environmental Sustainability CoP undertook an exercise to measure the impact of the Festive Tree and reduce the footprint of the event as much as possible. As this was our first event greening exercise, our aim was mainly to create a baseline for future event greening efforts, and develop and document intellectual property on the subject to apply to future event planning at IQ.

We used the following guiding principals in attempting to reduce our footprint:

  • The venue was central to reduce travel and had an environmental policy in place
  • All waste generated on the day was measured, and the principals of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle were applied (even extending to the chair bags provided as gifts, which were made with recycled billboard material)
  • Public transportation was used for the children
  • Volunteers were encouraged to share transport
  • Meals served to the children were vegetarian
  • Printed material was reduced and double-sided printing was adopted where possible

Some Statistics: Waste: 152.3 kg was generated

94.7 kg of the waste was recycled:
- 49.8 kg of paper
- 20.9 kg of plastic
- 6 kg of styrofoam
- 18 kg of glass

44.9 kg of the waste was organic and sent to the WVA wormery for composting

Only 12.7 kg of waste collected was non-recyclable, and therefore sent to landfill. Transport: 1957 kg of CO2 was generated

7 buses were used to transport 539 children and caregivers. This amounts to a total of 1563.1 kg of CO2 emissions.

49 vehicles were used to transport 135 volunteers, an average of 2 to 3 passengers per vehicle.

The total distance traveled by volunteers was 1793 km (return trip), an average of 36.6 km per vehicle. This amounts to 394 kg of CO2 emissions.

We are currently finalizing our report, which will be made available on the Environmental Sustainability CoP website, and investigating options to offset the CO2 emissions generated.

Lizette Akker

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