Bolt, the leading on-demand transportation platform in Africa, has entered into a long-term partnership with Seed Balls Kenya to plant over 11 million indigenous trees and unique grass species in degraded areas across the country.
The project will enable the production and distribution of 25 tons of indigenous seeds (an equivalent of 11.25 million trees) to sullied lands across Kenya, where natural reforestation is unlikely to occur or is impossible.
The initiative is supported by other NGOs that work with the Seed balls team to distribute and disperse the seed balls. They include; South Eastern Kitui University, Kibwezi Well Wishers, Save The Giraffes Now, Kijabe Forest Trust, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Kampour Travel Foundation, Mother Earth Network, and Eden Project, and Big Life Foundation.
Speaking on the partnership launch, Bolt’s Head of Sustainability, Natalia Gutiérrez, said: “Bolt is built on a culture of operating in the most efficient way possible and we apply those values in how we mitigate our environmental impact. We have handpicked a select number of projects where we collaborate closely with NGOs and other partners on local initiatives that we are confident will maximize the positive impact we can have on the environment. We are proud to announce Seed balls Kenya as the first project of this kind we are investing in and look forward to seeing the difference it will make in areas of Kenya where reforestation was unlikely to occur naturally.
Since 2019 Bolt has been mitigating its environmental impact by investing in projects primarily focused on renewable energy and resource conservation. The Seed balls project marks an evolution in Bolt’s strategy by supporting local initiatives to generate better environmental impacts.
“In Kenya, like many other countries, the forests and grasslands are under great pressure. One of the many challenges of landscape-scale restoration is that indigenous seeds are often food for different types of animals like mice and birds. That’s where we come in. The Seedballs program overcomes this challenge by coating native seeds in waste charcoal dust which prevents the seeds from being eaten. This means that the native grass and tree seeds can be planted year-round rather than waiting for the rainy season. When it rains enough, the charcoal dust dissolves and the seed sinks into the ground back to its natural state, ready to grow.” Teddy Kinyanjui, Co-Founder of Seedballs Kenya.
On its mission to support Sustainable Transport, Bolt has progressively invested in innovative ways to reduce its ecological footprints as a company both globally and locally. Already, Bolt has built long-life e-scooters that are lightweight, and safe to use in Europe. Bolt has also made its scooter operations climate positive through offsetting.
In Kenya, the company introduced the Bolt Green category in Nairobi, which consists of hybrid and electric cars, to reduce emissions during trips taken on the platform, thus offering greener ways to move within the city. The company also introduced electric tuk-tuks, and e-bicycles on the platform to expand greener transport options in Kenya for its food category.
“We continue to invest in programs that benefit our customers and the communities in which we operate. We are arguably one of the largest ride-hailing service providers in this market. This partnership is very significant for a company whose operations play a role in environmental pollution. It shows our commitment to becoming a greener company and helping the government achieve its goal of over 10% tree cover by 2022. Still, it also proves that the Bolt is well on its way to balancing the carbon emissions of our rides in all our markets, including Kenya. This is a long-term engagement, and we hope to grow it beyond our borders,” said Micah Kenneth, Regional Manager, Bolt East Africa.
The partnership also comes when the world urges businesses, governments, and communities to step up their efforts and investments in natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking to restore the world’s ecosystems.
Bolt aims to support this call by investing both in long-term and short-term projects that will provide solutions to climate change and still enable it to fulfill its core mission of providing convenient, safe, and affordable mobility solutions to people around the world.