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. This year she was selected as one of the presenters at the GraceKennedy Lecture “Clean Kingston Harbour, Pipe Dream or Pot of Gold.”
International Coastal Cleanup Day
For the past three years, GraceKennedy has been the largest corporate collector for a single site in Jamaica at the International Coastal Cleanup Day. In 2018, the Foundation coordinated a massive cleanup of Buccaneer and Gun Boat beaches located on the Palisadoes strip. The effort, led by Foundation Chairman, Dr Fred Kennedy, saw the involvement of over 250 volunteers comprised of GraceKennedy employees, members of the Campion College’s Green Generation Club, the St. George’s College Environmental Club and the Kingston Church of Christ Teen Ministry, students and parents from Hopefield Prep and the staff of the Mona GeoInformatics Institute. In just two hours, they collected more than 4,500lbs of garbage and plastics!
The recycling programme which was introduced in the GraceKennedy Group in 2014 continues to engage the interest and dedication of the staff. In 2018, the 11 subsidiary companies involved in the programme collected over 13,870lbs of plastic. Since 2014, over 61,800lbs of plastics have been collected among the subsidiaries. Nine educational institutions at the secondary and tertiary levels have also been trained as part of the programme and are coordinating recycling initiatives at their respective schools.
Clean Kingston Harbour Project
The Foundation spearheaded discussions with public and private entities to establish a project aimed at a long-term solution to the pollution entering the 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 the 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. “This public-private partnership will also include a number of key government agencies: NEPA, UDC, the Port Authority, KSAC and NSWMA. For the first time, we will go beyond the traditional beach clean-up exercises which really serve to expose the issues facing the harbour and rather get to the root of the problem – the issue of solid waste entering the Kingston Harbour,” said Caroline Mahfood, Executive Director, GraceKennedy Foundation.
Environment Initiatives at a Glance
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
- To date, 10 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 for export.
- 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
- Since 2014, over 60,000lbs of plastics have been collected from GK SBUs to date
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 2013 The GraceKennedy Foundation has led seven beach clean-ups in Kingston collecting more than 3,370lbs of plastic and 7,500lbs of garbage
- In 2018, the Foundation organised beach cleanups at Buccaneer and Gun Boat Beaches, located on the Kingston Harbour. -. – 257 volunteers participated and collected a total of 3,342.2lbs of garbage and 1,171lbs of plastic in under 2 hours.
- The GraceKennedy Group was awarded top corporate collector for Beach clean-up both in 2016 and 2017 for collecting the most waste at a single clean-up site
- Cleanup sites: 2014 (Fort Rocky, Port Royal); 2015 (Buccaneer Beach- beside Caribbean Maritime University, Palisadoes); 2016 (Kingston Harbour- beside Bank of Jamaica); 2017, 2018 & 2019 (Buccaneer Beach and Gun Boat Beach- Palisadoes)
- In 2015, 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
- In 2015, 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.
- In 2016, 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.
- In 2017, 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.
- In 2019, 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.