Kia pledges €1.5 million for charity shrub planting programme in West Africa
(SEOUL) February 16, 2012 – Kia Motors Europe is to sponsor a long-term charitable programme for the planting of shrubs in southern Mali, West Africa. The project, called ‘Kia – Planting for a Better Life’, will guarantee the planting of up to six million jatropha shrubs over the next three years, helping to secure a brighter future for communities in the area by boosting agricultural output and generating income for farmers and their families.
Supported by Kia’s 14 wholly-owned European subsidiaries*, the project will see Kia making a donation equivalent to six jatropha seedlings for each vehicle sold in the participating countries, up to a maximum value of €500,000 each year.
An integral part of Kia’s Corporate Social Responsibility activity, the project will be implemented for Kia by the Netherlands-based ‘Trees for All’ organisation. The foundation has broad experience of jatropha planting programmes and has worked with Kia Netherlands and Kia Sweden on projects in Mali since 2007. These earlier initiatives have already been responsible for establishing 2.3 million trees, and have set up 51 Jatropha Field Schools – teaching more than 5,000 local farmers to-date how best to use the shrubs and how to achieve better yields of key crops, such as maize, sorgho and peanuts.
“This important project will deliver rapid, genuine and long-term benefits to Malian farmers, their families and their communities, in a variety of ways, for many years to come,” comments Paul Philpott, COO Kia Motors Europe.
The jatropha shrub is a hardy, drought- and pest-resilient evergreen perennial which has numerous benefits. It is toxic to wild animals so makes an ideal hedge plant or ‘living fence’ with which farmers can ring other crops. It also helps prevent soil erosion and, from year five onwards, produces an average yield of 3.5 kg of ‘climate nuts’ sufficient to create 0.5 litres of bio-diesel fuel, boosting the farmer’s income.
“The earlier projects supported by two of Kia’s national subsidiaries have been hugely beneficial for the farmers and local communities concerned and have demonstrated what could be achieved with even greater support. Now, with Kia pledging its involvement across many key markets in Europe, the new planting programme can be taken to a much higher level, facilitating a vastly extended planting schedule,” added Philpott.
From 5 March, Kia – Planting for a Better Life will be featured in CNBC’s ‘Responsible Business’ television series reaching more than 355 million homes in the USA, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
Responsible Business is produced in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and highlights global corporations that are advancing the principles of the UN Global Compact to develop business-driven solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing the world today.
To view the full version of the Responsible Business segment, visit http://youtu.be/sd2–X5MMWg.
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.com) — a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart — was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. Over 2.5 million Kia vehicles a year are produced in 15 manufacturing and assembly operations in ten countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 172 countries. Kia today has over 47,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of US$39 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and an official automotive partner of FIFA — the governing body of the FIFA World Cup™. Kia Motors Corporation’s brand slogan — “The Power to Surprise” — represents the company’s global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.