The GraceKennedy Foundation (GKF) coordinates the environmental mandate for the GraceKennedy Group. This is done through the following initiatives:
James Moss-Solomon Snr. Chair in Environmental Management
In 1992, GraceKennedy Foundation established James Moss-Solomon Snr. Chair in Environmental Management long before it became a hot topic, GraceKennedy had the foresight to support environmental research and training for the region. To date, there have been three eminent holders of the Chair, Professors Elizabeth Thomas Hope, Dale Webber and Mona Webber, the current Chair. She has made critical contributions to research, innovation, teaching and outreach for the enhancement of the Jamaican environment. Much of her work has focused on the rehabilitation and protection of various aspects of the coastal and marine environment including the island’s mangrove stock. These initiatives are all aimed at increasing the island’s resilience to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. In 2019, she was selected as one of the presenters at the GraceKennedy Lecture “Clean Kingston Harbour, Pipe Dream or Pot of Gold.” Prof. Webber and her team at the Centre for Marine Sciences played an integral role in the restoration and rehabilitation of the mangroves for the Kingston Harbour Ecosystems-based Adaptation Measures (KHEAM) 3-year pilot project. KHEAM was primarily financed as a Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) project, made possible through the funding of the Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) Facility, provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) International Climate Initiative, through KfW, the German Development Bank.
Environmental stewardship amongst GK Staff
Between 2016-2019, GraceKennedy was the largest corporate collector for a single site in Jamaica at the International Coastal Cleanup Day. Since participating in cleanups in 2014, over 60,000lbs of waste has been collected by more than 1,400 volunteers, most of which were staff and their families.
The recycling programme which was introduced in the GraceKennedy Group in 2014 continues to engage the interest and dedication of the staff. 14 subsidiary companies are involved in the programme Since 2014, over 100,000lbs of plastics have been collected among the subsidiaries.
In 2022, the Foundation designed GK Earth 365 logo to accompany environmental initiatives and messaging across the GK Group. The logo demonstrates a continuous shift towards positioning the GraceKennedy Foundation as a world-class foundation impacting lives and communities as a company-wide mandate. It signifies that GraceKennedy is committed to creating sustainable living every day, making sustainable living a part of our everyday lifestyle.
Clean Kingston Harbour Project
In 2019, the Foundation spearheaded discussions with public and private entities to establish a project aimed at a long-term solution to the pollution entering Kingston Harbour. The project will aim to reduce pollution at source through the development of innovative solutions to prevent and trap waste going into the gullies.
The ultimate goal of the project is to restore Kingston Harbour to a pristine state, evidenced by an improvement in the quality of marine life with an increase in levels of biodiversity and the rejuvenation of the mangrove forests. This is critical to the successful redevelopment of downtown Kingston and Port Royal, the restoration of marine life & enhanced fishing activities in the Harbour, the development of tourism and recreational uses, and for shipping.
Kingston Harbour Ecosystems-based Adaptation Measures Project (KHEAM)
In 2019, the Foundation conducted a feasibility study on the restoration of Kingston Harbour. This resulted in GKF being part of a consortium with Mona GeoInformatics Limited (project lead), Centre for Marine Sciences and Newer Worlds (project manager). In 2020, a grant was awarded by the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund valued at US $990,000, to undertake a 3-year pilot project, aimed at contributing to a long-term solution to the pollution entering the Kingston Harbour
The primary goal was to restore, rehabilitate and protect the mangroves located around the Kingston Harbour in order to boost Jamaica’s climate change resilience. GKF‘s role is to encourage the reduction of land-based pollution entering Kingston Harbour from communities located near Barnes Gully, a gully located in Downtown Kingston. 11 Environmental wardens were trained and mobilised to assist with educating over 1000 community members about mangrove protection, proper waste management practices and recycling. To find out more about the project, visit www.kingstonharbourkheam.com.
Kingston Harbour Cleanup Project
In February 2022, The Ocean Cleanup in collaboration with The GraceKennedy Foundation (GKF), and Clean Harbours Jamaica (CHJ) Limited, implemented a pilot project to prevent solid waste from flowing into Kingston Harbour. Waste-trapping technology will be installed at the mouths of 11 gullies that feed into the Harbour. This effort is expected to eventually extract an estimated 900 metric tons of waste a year. GraceKennedy Foundation acts as the project facilitator.
Debris trapped by the technology is removed by The Ocean Cleanup’s small barge, known as the Interceptor™ Tender, and transported to an offloading site for sorting and disposal.
Beach cleanups and other outreach activities support this work by raising awareness about the pollution problem facing the Harbour. The Kingston Harbour Cleanup Project is funded by the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory. To find out more about the project, visit www.cleankingstonharbour.org.
Environment Initiatives at a Glance
The Foundation is part of a consortium that is awarded a grant by the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund valued at US $990,000 to undertake a 3-year pilot project, aimed at contributing to a long-term solution to the pollution entering the Kingston Harbour
The Foundation partners with the ICD Group, The Multicare Youth Foundation and Kingston Creative to create a mural with an environmental theme in downtown Kingston
GKF assists The Ocean Cleanup, an international non-profit developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, with their baseline study on the amount of plastic and garbage entering the harbour at Hunt’s Bay, Kingston. This leads to them receiving a US$1.4 Million grant to combat the pollution entering the harbour. GKF is appointed project facilitators
The GraceKennedy Foundation partners with International NGO, The Ocean Cleanup, and Clean Harbours Jamaica on Kingston Harbour Cleanup Pilot Project, to prevent waste from entering the Kingston Harbour
GK Earth 365 logo developed to accompany all environmental sustainability activities for the GraceKennedy Group
Senate of Jamaica commends as an exemplar in the arena of environmental protection, for its collaboration with The Ocean Cleanup and Clean Harbours Jamaica, on the Kingston Harbour Cleanup Project
Recycling Initiative at GK business units
- Began in February 2014, with the training of GK staff by then holder of the James Moss-Solomon Snr Chair in Environmental Management, Prof. Dale Webber
- 14 GK SBUs are part of the initiative, which encourages staff to separate their plastics at source, whether at work or at home
- Plastics are collected by Recycling Partners of Jamaica
- GraceKennedy companies participating: GK General Insurance, Allied Insurance Brokers, First Global Bank, Dairy Industries, GK Executive office, GK Foods and Services, World Brands, Consumer Brands, Grace Foods Processors (Canning) Division and GraceKennedy Remittance Services, GK Financial Group, Hi-Lo Food Stores, Key Insurance Limited, GK Capital Management
- Between 2014-2022, over 100,000lbs of plastics have been collected from GK SBUs
Recycling Initiative at Schools
- Currently, 9 schools have been trained and provided with recycling bins and drums for the collection of plastics for recycling
- In 2017, St. George’s College hosted a competition for 1st formers to see which class could collect the most plastic bottles. GK Foundation awarded the winning class a pizza day for collecting a total of 748lbs of plastic
- Schools that have been trained: Caribbean Maritime University, Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica College, Kingston College, Wolmer’s Prep School, Wolmer’s High School for Boys, Wolmer’s High School for Girls, Tarrant High and St. George’s College
Keep Champs Clean Recycling Project
- Established in 2015, the project focused on collecting all the plastic bottles used at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Champs over the 4 day period
- Drums were placed around the National Stadium, which sees over 10,000 plastic bottles being distributed by Grace Foods. The drums were retrofitted for plastic bottles only
- Workers cleared the Stadium at the end of the night and a total of over 3,100lbs were collected in 2015 and 2016
International Coastal Cleanup Day
- Since 2014 The GraceKennedy Foundation has led eight beach cleanups in Kingston collecting more than 60,000lbs of waste
- The GraceKennedy Group was awarded top corporate collector for Beach cleanup between 2016-2019 for collecting the most waste at a single cleanup site
- Cleanup sites: 2014 (Fort Rocky, Port Royal); 2015 (Buccaneer Beach- beside Caribbean Maritime University, Palisadoes); 2016 (Kingston Harbour- beside Bank of Jamaica); 2017-2021 (Buccaneer Beach and Gun Boat Beach- Palisadoes); 2022 (Gun Boat Beach- Palisadoes)
The Foundation provided sponsorship for the Youth Climate Change Conference. This conference is aimed at raising awareness and building leadership in youth to become climate change advocates
GK Foundation coordinated a group of GK employees to attend Jamaica’s 1st Climate Walk. The Climate Walk took place on October 24, which is celebrated globally as International Day of Climate Action. The walk, which took place in bands, reflected themes that impact health and wellness. The GK Group represented the ‘Food’ band because of our GK Foods division.
Trelawny 4-H Clubs & Trelawny Parish Development Committee were approved a grant in the amount of $100,000 for a plastic bottle greenhouse project. The project, aimed at high school students, highlighted the necessity to recycle and reuse plastics. With building the greenhouse, the project gave support to the agricultural program in the school curriculum. Students most importantly were made aware of problems with littering, garbage collection and importance of recycling.
GK Foundation partnered with Plant Jamaica to provide Holy Family Primary, located in downtown Kingston with a grant of $250,000. The grant was used to upgrade their 1st test stage of a school farm and climate resilience project with a 2nd stage focused on education, rain harvesting and more growing space for the school to grow their own crops. The project served as demonstration of a practical organic home garden system. The project raised educational awareness about sustainability and more importantly its solution to students across the age groups.
In 2017 and 2018, The Youth Environmental Advocacy Programme (YEAP) was awarded a grant of $300,000 to assist in funding 6 regional bursaries for high school students. The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation invited high school students who were currently enrolled, with a demonstrated interest in the environment and a solid academic performance in need of financial assistance to apply. Students had to have a background in leadership and environmental advocacy through volunteerism in their communities and/or participation in extracurricular school activities
The Foundation was the title sponsor for the Jamaica Climate Change Youth Council’s ‘Youth Climate Change Expo’, under the theme: ‘Staying Above The Tide: Jamaica After the Plastic Ban’. The event aimed at raising awareness among young people about climate change effects, and to foster conversation between Jamaicans aged 15-35 about climate change, solutions for mitigation and adaptation
The Youth Environmental Advocacy Programme (YEAP) was awarded a grant of $250,000 to assist in funding 6 regional bursaries for high school students
Making An Impact All-Together Foundation awarded a grant of $500,000 to support a tree planting project in the Denham Town community. The project was aimed at expanding Denham Town’s urban garden ‘eco-village’
The Youth Environmental Advocacy Programme (YEAP) was awarded a grant of $350,000 to assist in funding 6 regional bursaries for high school students