Plants have a place in the corporate world!

Plants have a place in the corporate world!

We take a look at the benefits offered by corporate landscaping, and chat to Xiluva Shingange, who handles Libra Landscape and Facilities Management’s sales and communication, for greater insight into the local market.

At the end of 2022, we reported on a study by Finnish scientists that showed how air-circulating indoor green walls can improve employees’ health in less than a month. 

Conducted as part of the Adele 2 project, which develops prototype materials and ways to prevent the development of immune-mediated diseases, the study was driven by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) – a research organisation that aims to build a sustainable future and well-being from renewable natural resources – and two leading Finnish universities. The first of its kind, the study linked exposure to living green walls with better skin integrity and enhanced immunity against pathogens and allergens. 

The green wall for the study was provided by Finnish indoor nature technology company Naava. “From an evolutionary and biological point of view, we are not meant to spend our lives inside concrete boxes – and that’s what most office spaces are like. Whether we humans know it or not, there’s an in-built need in us to be in the middle of nature. In Western societies – due to things like increased hygiene level and biodiversity loss – our natural exposure to environmental microbes has decreased. This is seen as one of the major reasons for the rise of autoimmune diseases and allergies,” said Aki Soudunsaari, a health-related serial entrepreneur and co-founder at Naava.

Plants don’t only bring about benefits inside office spaces, however. Corporate landscaping enhances the appeal and market value of a property, increases employee productivity and customers’ satisfaction levels, and can save money and cut costs. Strategically planned landscaping can, for example, provide shade and have a cooling effect during summers – which improves a cooling system’s efficiency. Here’s what Shingange has to say:

Please could you provide a brief history of Libra Landscape and Facilities Management?

Libra Landscape was established in 2005 by Malebo Ramakuela, who has a solid foundation in horticulture and landscaping. Before establishing her own business, she worked for well-known organisations such as Eskom. Libra has two offices: the head office in Centurion and another in Secunda, Mpumalanga, as well as a plot in the North West Province.

Which services does the company offer, and how has corporate landscaping changed over the years?

The company offers landscape design, garden maintenance, indoor plants, cleaning and hygiene services, gabion construction, pest control, bush clearing, hydroseeding, and rehabilitation.

More and more companies are implementing landscaping, including environmentally friendlier practices such as the use of indigenous plants and water efficient irrigation systems. A well maintained and pleasing landscape provides a multitude of benefits and contributes to a positive corporate image. It also enhances employee well-being.

What should companies consider when they are looking for a facilities management provider?

The company’s track record and certification are crucial. It is important that they comply with industry regulations and standards, and that their relevant certifications and accreditation are in place, as this demonstrates commitment to quality and compliance.

Are there any trends within the corporate landscaping and facilities management spheres that excite you?

Yes, artificial intelligence is very exciting, as it can be used to generate creative ideas for landscape design projects based on clients’ preferences. It can also provide recommendations for plant selection, maintenance tips, or suitable landscape practices.

The future looks very bright for plants in the corporate world, where they certainly have a significant role to play.

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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