On 5 June last year, Mahogany Masterpieces pledged to reintroduce 10,000 trees to Sri Lanka’s ecosystem. The ‘Plant a Plant’ initiative, aimed at strengthening the green coverage of the island and improving its resilience to climate change was introduced on World Environment Day in 2016. Over the past year the company has distributed thousands of plants and is resolute in its commitment to reach this goal.
The company reinforced the campaign on World Environment Day this year with an overwhelming response and will continue to give away free plants throughout the year. “Trees provide an abundance of benefits – they give us clean air, cleaner water, they are home to our wildlife and they make a real difference in the absorption of greenhouse gases, which means we are breathing better air. One tree means so much and benefits generations to come,” says Managing Director Kishan Gooneratne.
The ‘Environmental Performance Index’ has revealed that half of the world’s population lives in an environment with unsafe air quality. In 2013, 10% (5.52 million) of all deaths across the globe were caused by poor air quality. More people are dying because of poor quality air than unsafe water. “We need to remind ourselves that every minute of every day we are taking from this planet. The time to start giving back is long overdue. We need to hold ourselves accountable for the protection of the earth. It is our earth and ultimately our responsibility,” Gooneratne says.
The plants will be distributed to schools and communities as well as through their own stores that actively implement and advocate planting trees. They are hopeful that the initiative will not only spread awareness but also trigger a consistent environmentally responsible lifestyle. “We have seen the devastation from the rains we had recently in terms of flooding and siltation of our waterways with hundreds of thousands suffering in Sri Lanka. The onus isn’t on just one government, business or individual to rectify our environmental woes, everything fits together like a puzzle. The more we all do our part – the faster we will create an entire society that promotes sustainability,” he added.
The company’s plans for replantation safeguards the sustainability of the furniture industry by renewing resources that harvest raw materials in addition to restoring forests. Each plant brings them closer to protecting and conserving forests, as well as the industry for future generations.
The company believes that the first step is to begin to understand what each of us can do to become more environmentally friendly. It estimates the annual Plant a Plant give away to be worth over Rs. 1 billion a year at maturity. The next step is to try to influence other people because sometimes individual efforts are not enough. “Our aim is to be a catalyst in bringing together people and resources to effect change. I think everybody who is aware of the perils of climate change has a responsibility to talk to other people about it, to spread this awareness. Our Plant a Plant initiative is the ideal vehicle for this objective.”