Mabuya Glass Merchants is one of the businesses we help - not because we have to but because we want to. Msizi Ngwenwa is a running mate of mine - (Comrades silver medalist). He is a glazier, and knows all about glass. He tried very hard to get into the building trade, but due to the competition, and lack of cash flow and expertise he never really succeeded, but he has still not given up.
Some time back we needed a whiteboard for our training room, but do not like the standard boards as they tend to stain, and the ink never really rubs out. Instead we asked Msizi to install a glass white board on our wall, and it works perfectly and looks really good. We can write on it with any marker pen, and a bit of windowlene is all that is needed to clean it. We started discussing ideas for Msizi around producing glass whiteboards. We have assisted him with equipment and he has now started production of glass boards: They are beautifully framed in aluminum and can easily be mounted by a DIYer on your wall. It is the most useful piece of office equipment we have.
Msizi is working very hard on the quality of his framed white board - and quality is still a problem, but Msizi wil not rest until he has produced “the Rolls Royce” of glass white boards.
We purchased his first board and our staff love it.
Our role has been a bit of finance for equipment and we have purchased all his “mistakes” which is good enough to us to use perfectly well. We also help him with his accounts, marketing and most of all we are a shoulder to lean on and able to help him with brain-storming, coaching and mentoring. In a few years his product could well become a well-known brand.
Mabuya Glass Merchants is currently producing trial aluminum framed glass boards 80 cm by 60 cm at a price of R299 (excluding packing and shipping and installation which any DIYer can easily do). The size is perfect for every office. I’d love to take orders for him while he perfects his quality (order form). Take this opportunity to support his enterprise, earn BEE points but more importantly help his business thrive.
We have obviously earned both enterprise development points and procurement points from our positive relationship with Msizi (he is level 3 and is a category A enterprise development beneficiary) so there is enhanced recognition on both our ED scorecard and procurement scorecard so we have great BEE benefits.
Moreover Msizi is finally able to reach his dream of running a sustainable business. He is not a “bigwig”, not being enriched, just a South African who cares and is beginning to feel good about himself. So do we! This is what true B-BBEE is all about!
The link between Enterprise Development (Mabuya Glass Merchants) and procurement (buying glass white boards) works very well, to find out more attend our Procurement and Enterprise Development conference.
Making business sense out of sustainability: profit, reputation and ethics
By Katharine Vincent, Kulima Consulting
The business environment is changing. There is increasing pressure for businesses to act as corporate citizens, reducing the environmental impact of their operations and contributing to the social development of communities in which they operate. As well as financial viability, consideration is now being paid to environmental and social sustainability of business operations – ensuring that natural and social resources are not overexploited. This is known as the triple bottom line, and forms a cornerstone of the ways in which a company can aim to be sustainable, otherwise known as adopting corporate social responsibility, or corporate citizenship.
The business case for sustainability can be made from a number of different perspectives. From a regulatory perspective, the King Report on Corporate Governance recommended the triple bottom line as a method for doing business. In this day and age successful companies cannot merely be equated with financial performance. The current economic climate, which has caused companies and consumers alike to tighten their belts, has highlighted the importance of carving out a niche based on comparative advantage and product differentiation. Investors are looking for a solid company ethos that will ensure a company’s viability, even through the hard times, and consumers are becoming increasingly discerning and demanding more accountability. As well as reputation, corporate citizenship reflects the growing recognition that business plays a large role in the functioning of economy and society, and thus has an ethical and moral responsibility to consider its environmental and social impact, as well as financial performance. When properly considered, corporate social responsibility presents an opportunity that can actively add to a company’s profile, and enhance profitability.
The starting point for a business to become a corporate citizen is strategic thinking about how to embrace corporate social responsibility within their sector – to come up with a vision. This is ideally followed by a company policy, usually publicly available through a company’s website. As an example, many mining companies in South Africa have made the commitment to contribute to development of the local communities in which they operate: through such mechanisms as training and employment opportunities, and funding necessary infrastructure and facilities, such as schools and hospitals. In order to ensure compliance with the policy, it is then necessary to set up a structure to report on progress, and ensure this is communicated to EXCO and shareholders.
As corporate responsibility has developed, a number of benchmarking initiatives and standards have evolved to guarantee levels of commitment and ensure easy comparability by investors and consumers. The most widespread is arguably the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), but others include AA1000 and a variety of standards under the International Organisation for Standardisation (such as ISO9000 on quality management and ISO14000 on environmental management). Indicators are then chosen as appropriate to the business type, and can be included in annual reports, or even form the basis of a complementary sustainability report.
Sustainability reporting is now so popular that the major stock exchanges have sustainability indices, such as the FTSE 4 Good, Dow Jones World Sustainability Index (DJSI World) and the JSE SRI, which was launched in 2004 and now includes nearly 200 listings. In addition, various sector-specific service marques and principles now exist, signing up to which adds to the credibility of a company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Kulima Consulting is a specialist Sustainability Development and Corporate Social Responsibility Consultancy whose principals are: Katharine Vincent, BA Hons. (Oxford), MREs (University of East Anglia), PhD (University of East Anglia) Email:
, Phone: 072 1964525.
Tracy Cull, B. Soc. Sci. Hons (University of Natal, Durban) Email:
, Phone: 082 820 6608
Is BEE procurement a pain? Sort it out quick and easy - click here.
Not sure how to get a BEE Scorecard, click here to see a demonstration of how best to produce your own BEE scorecard.
BEE Points = Business
That's it for the time being. Regards
Keith and the EconoBEE Team
In this issue
My Feel Good Enterprise Development Story
Making business sense out of sustainability: profit, reputation and ethicss