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September 17, 2009

Hetzner making a greener Loeries

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Photo courtesy Danie van der Merwe

The country’s premier awards for creative talent, The Loeries, together with internet hosting company Hetzner, are taking their environmental responsibility seriously.

A sponsor of The Loerie Awards, Hetzner wanted to take its involvement a step further by reducing the environmental impact of the event. To achieve this and make this year’s Loeries a “Green Loeries”, Hetzner will be planting hundreds of trees.

Hetzner’s Managing Director Hans Wencke says, “This is about taking responsibility for our environment and our city, by giving a little to ensure that our natural home is preserved for future generations.”

Originally Hetzner approached The Loeries with the suggestion to reduce the carbon footprint of the awards, and it was decided that planting the trees was a good way to achieve this.

The Loeries Awards CEO Andrew Human explained how the organisation always seeks to leave a positive contribution to the communities it interacts with. “Thanks to Hetzner, receiving a Loerie this year is an honour which can be enjoyed in the knowledge that the event has had no adverse impact on the environment,” he says.

The United Nations, World Bank and other leading non-governmental organisations are encouraging reforestation and tree planting as one of the ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. This, according to Wencke, was the motivating factor for the initiative of lowering the environmental impact of the awards.

Determining the environmental impact of the awards was a complex exercise. Working together with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), an estimation of the carbon emissions took into account a number of factors. These included an estimation that 3 800 people will attend the event; of these, 2 850 will be travelling to and from the Mother City by aeroplane. In addition the calculations took into account taxis and buses used to shuttle people in Cape Town, and even the electrical consumption for the Good Hope Centre, where The Loerie Awards will be presented.

With 260 trees bought on behalf of The Loerie Awards, Wencke explains that Hetzner is pleased that the trees were distributed to an underprivileged community. “The trees have been planted by the residents of the new settlement of Delft to benefit the local community,” he says.

Wencke believes environmental responsibility is a concept which should be considered for any event held in South Africa, especially with the World Cup on the horizon. “We are adding to the collective efforts already undertaken by our colleagues in industry and individuals. While events and life’s luxuries are about enjoyment and celebration, it is imperative that they are accompanied by efforts that ensure the long-term sustainability of our environment.”

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