Spekboom The Carbon Emissions Destroyer

The Veldskoen Tannery (Mossop leather) has been in operation since 1846 for over 176 years. Yes, that is a long time to be in business, and it says something about the way you run your business when you are able to stay in business this long.

from the beginning, Mossop Leather is focused on building an operation that is conscious of its impact on the environment. They embrace innovations in the leather making process, which enables them to become more sustainable. Their belief (and ours) is it now becomes a necessity. 

They are also investigating alternative and creative measures to lower their carbon emissions. Portulacaria Afra or ‘Spekboom’ is a South Africa indigenous plant that is just one of those ways. The plant has the potential to tackle carbon emissions like no other. They have planted a garden of Spekboom to bring their Carbon footprint to zero. The growth also has added benefits. 

The benefits of spekboom


Spekboom is found mainly in the Eastern Cape but is common in the dry-arid Boland region, where the climate is perfect for this robust succulent plant. It is a drought-resistant, fire-retardant, woody shrub that can grow to the size of a small tree, or remain just close to the ground. It also creates it’s own microclimate and brings water and biodiversity into the biomes around it. And, it tastes good in salad. It enjoys maximum sunlight. Succeeds in poor soils, and adapts in both drought and frost, which common in Wellington where Mossop is situated. 

Existing data suggest a hectare of restored spekboom in dry areas will absorb up to 15.4 metric tons (17 U.S. tons) of CO2 annually Which is slightly more than the average American’s annual carbon footprint. In other words, spekboom thickets can store 20 kilograms of carbon in every square meter of vegetation, or 200 tons of carbon per hectare. That’s equivalent to taking 37 cars off the road for a year. 



Hectare for hectare, in optimal conditions, Spekboom cover can be as adequate as a Tropical rainforest at extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. One hectare of Spekboom can sequester between 4 and 10 tonnes of carbon per year. It is a powerful tool in the fight against climate change and will make Mossop's carbon footprint nil. 


Spekboom trees can grow as high as 5 metres. Providing brilliant shade and chance of relaxation to recharge the staff at Mossop during tea and, lunch. Spekboom reproduces very easily, and a broken-off branch can quickly grow roots and create a whole new plant. 


In the winter when it's wet and cooler it can adapt to its surrounding. Spekboom photosynthesises differently to other plants, opening its stomata during the day to absorb carbon dioxide. During summer, Spekboom can open its stomata at night, which, prevents water loss during the heat of the day. 


Spekboom tastes great in a salad. Check out this great Spekboom, chickpea and tomato salad here. It also provides energy to fauna that it shares its environment. In this way, it gives life to both fauna and flora. 

We understand that this is by no means a solution to the climate crisis. Far from it, however, as they say, every little helps.



Reducing South Africa’s carbon footprint is a critical national issue that requires an urgent response from our country’s business leaders.

The state of affairs' in South Africa

  • 511 Million Tons: The amount of carbon dioxide that South Africa releases into the atmosphere each year. 
  • 9.18 tons South Africa's carbon emissions per capita; that’s nearly double the world average at 4.49 tons.
  • 24%: The percentage increase in South Africa's carbon emissions from the consumption and flaring of fossil fuels since 1996.

Visit the wonderplant.co.za for more on the amazing Spekboom plant

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