Bolt partners with Seedballs Kenya to plant 11 million tree seeds

Apr 20, 2022


Since 2019, we’ve been supporting projects that help reduce our environmental impact as a company through the purchasing of carbon credits. We’ve made Bolt scooters climate-positive, launched e-bikes across Europe and actively promoted a car-free lifestyle. To date, we’ve neutralised the environmental footprint of over 4.5 billion kilometres of Bolt rides.

Going forward, we will collaborate with NGOs and other partners on a series of local initiatives to generate a better environmental impact.

Neutralising the carbon footprint of Bolt rides and Bolt Food deliveries

Throughout 2022, we’ll be helping to neutralise those CO2 emissions by spreading 25 tonnes of indigenous seeds in Kenya — equivalent to planting over 11 million tree seeds

Together with Seedballs Kenya and several NGOs, the seeds of multiple indigenous tree species will be planted in different areas across Kenya where natural reforestation is unlikely or not possible at all. As the seeds grow into trees, they’ll help neutralise the emissions of your Bolt rides and Bolt Food deliveries.

We call this collaboration between Seedballs Kenya and Bolt the Seedbolts.

Seedbolts — an efficient way of reforesting at scale

You may know Kenya for its fascinating landscapes and vast wildlife preserves. However, behind this beautiful picture lie some serious environmental challenges — deforestation, soil erosion, land degradation, desertification, loss of biodiversity, water scarcity and pollution from industrial activity. Just 7.4% of the country is covered in forest — that’s 2.6% short of the constitutionally accepted 10%. 

Local charcoal demand plays the biggest role in this tree loss, with charcoal being the key source of energy for 82% of urban and 34% of rural households. Coincidentally, the waste created by charcoal production is exactly where Seedbolts begin — Seedballs Kenya and its co-founder Teddy Kinyanjui have devised an ingenious and efficient solution to replant local woodland areas quickly and affordably.

Seedballs Kenya’s partners from Chardust Ltd. buy the charcoal dust that’s left after selling charcoal, clean it and use it to cover various tree and grass seeds, protecting them from various birds, insects, rodents, and direct sunlight, increasing their chance of survival.

“We’re giving Mother Nature a helping hand by protecting the seeds from predators and the sun until the appropriate natural environmental conditions trigger germination.” 

Seedballs Kenya

Seedbolts are also one of the most efficient ways to reforest areas at scale, as they do not require digging, watering or fertilising — they just need to be thrown onto soil and the weather takes it from there. After rainfall, the charcoal coating melts away and the seed falls into the moist soil where it starts to grow. 

Why Seedbolts?

Planting Seedbolts is:

  • Efficient: Seedbolts can be distributed at any time of the year and will wait until the first rains to start germinating.
  • Accessible: Large quantities of Seedbolts can be easily dispersed over wide areas that are often hard to reach. 
  • Productive: Direct seeding reduces transplant shock and helps young trees grow stronger roots which, in turn, helps them grow into stronger trees. The coating protects the seed until the first rainfall and then provides a favourable environment to encourage germination. 
  • Local: The Seedbolts are sourced from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute who keeps a stock of seed of about 220 tree species collected from more than 600 provinces across Kenya.
  • Precise: Researchers from Seedballs Kenya define what kinds of trees grow best in each area and manufacture Seedbolts designed for that area. 
  • Traceable: You can see where Seedbolts were planted by checking the map. The map has photos and GPS points of the locations where the partners spread them.

How will Bolt plant over 11 million Seedbolts?

Throughout this year, we’ll be distributing tree and grass seeds by road and air, with the support of various NGOs. Specifically: 

  • South Eastern Kitui University; 
  • Kibwezi Well Wishers; 
  • Save The Giraffes Now; 
  • Kijabe Forest Trust; 
  • Sheldrick Wildlife Trust;  
  • Kampour Travel Foundation; 
  • Mother Earth Network;  
  • Eden Project;  
  • and the Big Life Foundation. 

By initiating the Seedbolts project and planting over 11 million new tree seeds across Kenya, we’re effectively watering two plants with one hose. We’re growing new trees to neutralise carbon emissions from our services as well as stopping erosion, water runoff and improving land fertility in the country. 

1 Bolt order = 1 extra Seedbolt

We still believe the most sustainable means of transport is walking, but if you really need a fast, affordable ride, try the Bolt app

This Earth Day, in addition to the 11 million Seedbolts that help to neutralise the emissions of your Bolt rides and food deliveries, we’ll also plant 1 extra tree Seedbolt for every ride, scooter and food delivery order made. One Bolt or Bolt Food order = one new tree seed in the ground. 💚

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