SHANGHAI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, today planted the first lot of trees to start the “Axalta Forest” in Jiangjiakou City, Hebei Province, setting down the roots for a better environment in China and enabled itself be part of the local environmental protection program.
The tree-planting initiative follows last month’s agreement with the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) in which Axalta pledged significant financial commitment to be made over the next three years to support the Mother River Protection program. Today’s tree-planting is the first phase of Axalta’s pledge in which half the amount donated will be used to purchase trees, seedlings and fertilizer to plant and maintain the Axalta Forest.
“I’m delighted that we can quickly put into action our pledge to the Mother River Protection program through the CYDF and planted the first trees today, a humble contribution to a country in which we set down our own roots over 30 years ago,” said Luke Lu, President of the China operations of Axalta Coating Systems, who with a group of Axalta employees from the company’s Beijing and Shanghai offices, CYDF representatives, and local forestry officials, started the Axalta Forest in North China. “Sustainability is core to everything we do in our business, and this principle flows through our tree-planting initiative. To be sustainable, we need, and we want, to take further steps to ensure that the Axalta Forest matures to enhance both the natural beauty and the natural resources in the area.”
Trees planted in this phase, totaling 11,000, will expand the Xiahuayuan forest area by about seven hectares (about 100 mu), enlarging the “green lungs” in the area in addition to arresting soil erosion while the trees will also help to reduce the force of the winds carrying dust and sand into North China and nearby cities such as Beijing. The trees chosen are a mix of evergreen species, including the midget crabapple, a flowering tree with fragrant blooms, and the Platycladus Orientalis or the Chinese Arborvitae whose Latin name “arborvitae” means “tree of life.”
Working closely through the CYDF, the Axalta Forest initiative will enlist the Xiahuayuan District Government’s Forestry Bureau to assist in regular inspection and caring of the trees to ensure their growth. In addition, a local team specializing in forestry management and protection will be established to water, breed, replant, and prevent tree diseases and forest fires in the Axalta Forest. Representatives from the Zhangjiakou Forestry Bureau named “Special Ambassadors” will protect the Axalta Forest and maintain a record to chart tree growth.
Following the tree-planting, Axalta visited the Xiahuayuan Elementary School and also planted trees there while engaging students to join in the cause to support environmental protection and to raise awareness on ecological issues.
“We have experienced Axalta’s philosophy of sustainability and its strong commitment to being responsible corporate citizens in our Mother River Protection collaboration. We are confident that this Axalta Forest initiative will educate and heighten people’s sense of responsibility and ownership on environmental protection. It’s very gratifying working with Axalta on this project,” said Yao Wen, Deputy Secretary General of the CYDF.
Axalta companies have been doing business in China since 1984. This wealth of institutional knowledge has helped Axalta maintain its leadership role for developing cutting edge coating products. In addition to the recently opened Jiading waterborne coatings facility, Axalta operates an adjacent plant in Jiading and a plant in Changchun, six powder coating operations in collaboration with a joint venture partner, four refinish training centers and, in Shanghai, a Global Color Lab and Asia Pacific Innovation Center to support R&D. Shanghai is also the company’s Asia Pacific regional headquarters. Axalta’s multiple resources in China work together to support the sustained, long-term growth of China’s automotive, commercial vehicle and industrial sectors that use Axalta coatings.
About the Mother River Protection program and CYDF
The Mother River Protection program was launched in 1999 in response to a call by the State Council of China to improve the eco-system at the headwaters of the Yellow River, the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and along sandy areas and grasslands adjacent to two of China’s most important rivers. The goals of the program are to promote ecological awareness, protection and sustainability in China by planting trees and engaging with local communities through education and other activities aimed at promoting clean water and conservation.
The China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), which is dedicated to youth development, supports the Mother River Protection program. Founded in 1989, the CYDF launched the Project Hope, which has become one of the most extensive, influential and widely supported philanthropic programs in China. For more information, visit www.en.cydf.org.cn.
Axalta is a leading global company focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable solutions. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines, our coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the materials we coat to last longer. With more than 145 years of experience in the coatings industry, the 12,000 people of Axalta continue to find ways to serve our more than 120,000 customers in 130 countries better every day with the finest coatings, application systems and technology.