Can partnerships with shared values drive real social impact?
Since February 2019, Fortress REIT Limited (Fortress) has partnered with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) to roll out several programmes within the local communities in which their properties are located.
FTFA’s commitment to the sustainable development and upliftment of under-resourced areas made them a natural choice for implementation partner. Rather than rolling out a blanket approach, the partnership led to the development of thoughtful solutions, tailored to the communities that Fortress aims to serve. In doing this, Fortress takes responsibility for its activities and practices that affect the community, environment and society – while contributing to a community-driven solution.
For example, Fortress added a wellness campaign to their food security and environmental initiative ahead of the 2nd phase of development at Sterkspruit Plaza in the Eastern Cape. Here, learners joined Fortress and FTFA to plant 40 trees and distribute a further 1500 trees to 750 homes in the surrounding community. A total of 500 trees were distributed to 13 schools and two food gardens were established with long-term support, impacting 4,895 lives. Through a partnership with a local athletics club to support the Telle Bridge Marathon, it helped boost their wellness message.
In KwaMhlanga, Mpumulanga, where the Crossroads Mall is situated, Fortress supported local farms, homes, schools and co-ops by planting 2540 trees, and committed to developing a 100-tree enterprise orchard to create a healthier, more food secure environment that directly benefits over 4000 people.
In Gauteng’s Orange Farm and Evaton area, Fortress supported their customers at the Palm Springs and Evaton Mall by spearheading the planting of 3575 trees in the community, which included a 100-tree enterprise orchard and food garden in Orange Farm. Similar initiatives were rolled out at Vredenburg’s Weskus Mall (Western Cape) and Cornubia Ridge Logistics Park, Cornubia (KwaZulu Natal). The below infographic shows the impact of these programmes for each area – reaching a total of 4500 households and 22790 people across five provinces.
By developing integrated programmes that are responsive to community needs, the Fortress and FTFA partnership aims to drive real social impact. As the community benefits from valuable training to become self-sufficient and food secure, gardens and trees benefit from better maintenance and survival rates improve.
According to Jodie Elinor-Dreyer from Fortress, they are making every effort to enhance wellbeing and promote pride and a sense of place among the people who support the company every day. “A healthy community is a happy one and the happier the community, the greater the long-term sustainability of all parties that have a stake in its success.”
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