Corporate Social Investment
We understand the responsibility that comes with being a large corporate citizen and we constantly strive to be a force for positive change in the communities in which we operate. Our Passion to "provide more food to more people, more often” is the driving sentiment behind our focus on food security, both in our everyday business and in our new Corporate Social Investment (CSI) policy. This policy targets food security and community development as core areas in which we can make a significant impact. Not all of our current CSI projects are strategic and sustainable in terms of this vision, and plans are under way to exit many of these in order to focus on priority communities where we undertake bigger, more impactful projects. Nevertheless, our current projects are making a difference and we are proud of the work that is being done. A selection of these initiatives is presented below.
Food security includes the availability of food, access to food and knowledge regarding food use. Many of our current CSI projects tackle all three of these areas.
Supporting contract growers
The Consumer Division supports contract growers who rear chicken on our behalf using their own farm and facilities. We supply day-old chicks, feed and in some cases the transfer of skills, while the growers are managed and mentored against our standards and operating practices. The Sugar & Milling Division supports over 1 600 small-scale growers in order to secure sustainable cane production and to enhance social cohesion.
Establishing community self-sufficiency
In February 2015, our Sugar business unit opened the Marula Plant Nursery in Malalane. This is an extension of the existing Marula Fresh Produce Market which our Sugar business unit established with TRAC in 2012, and through which traders were taught how to grow their own produce in order to become self-sufficient. Our chicken business unit built a chicken house for the Ikusasa Le-Africa Foundation and supplied chicks, feed, vaccines, chemicals, training, maintenance and consulting time to the foundation in order for them to teach the community how to grow chicken.
Our chicken business unit supports a number of organisations with their monthly chicken requirements and also donates close-to-expired stock to NPOs near its operations. During 2015 we donated over 60 tons of chicken, providing over 350 000 meals.
We aim to become a strong participant and catalyst in community development within the communities that depend on our operations, with an emphasis on identified priority areas. The model for this development is a multipartner collaborative approach which includes government departments, municipalities, businesses, NGOs and NPOs. In this approach we will play the part of a catalyst in strengthening current forums, supporting existing projects and driving a number of new potential projects and partnerships.
Government has identified the Nkomazi district, where Malalane is situated, as being particularly poor and under- resourced. Government statistics indicate that many young children in Nkomazi do not grow up with a strong foundation in the early years. Many do not have birth certificates, many do not access government health services or have a Child Support Grant, many are not fed nutritious food, and the vast majority are not stimulated through play and early learning opportunities to ensure their success in school and in life. We are currently working with experts in the ECD field, NGOs and the Department of Social Development, amongst other role players, to identify what we as the major employer in this area can do to assist the community to overcome these issues.
In Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal, we are working very closely with the LIMA Rural Development Foundation in order to identify a community project to be established in Hammarsdale. We have already had extensive engagements with community leaders, municipalities and local businesses, along with community workshops and extensive investigations into the Hammarsdale community. Together with local community members, we will undertake a project that assists the Hammarsdale community to overcome the most pressing needs of the poor.
In partnership with the non-profit organisation Star Schools, in 2014 we have assisted 500 underprivileged Grade 11 and 12 learners by providing access to extra lessons in Maths, Science and English. The impact of the project can be seen in the results of the 2014 Grade 12s:
- 100% pass rate on all four sites (Rustenburg, Malalane, Worcester and Hammarsdale)
- 76% achieved Bachelor's passes (qualifying for university admission)
- 44 distinctions were achieved amongst 164 candidates
- 100% pass rate in Maths and Science on three out of four sites.
In addition to this group-level initiative, our Sugar business unit supports 10 Eco-Schools (a school environmental development programme that helps schools build their capacity to respond to environmental issues) and the Penreach Project (run by a private college with a developmental arm that reaches out to poorer schools).
Staff and community parenting programme in Worcester
The Positive Parenting Programme was developed to help improve parent-child interactions in households within the community of Worcester, an area affected by social problems such as drugs, alcoholism and gangsterism. With an emphasis on “learning through play”, the programme focuses on offering information and practical skills to parents of young children, to Early Childhood Development (ECD) leaders and the local Department of Social Development. Over 200 of our staff enrolled in the six-month course and 40 ECD sites from the Worcester community have also signed up for the programme, impacting over 2 000 children in the area.
Sports and recreational projects
RCL FOODS’ Yum Yum brand sponsors the Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club (SCARC), which uses water sports as a way of engaging with and providing development opportunities for underprivileged youth in Soweto. The SCARC team performed exceptionally well this year in races such as the Dusi Canoe Marathon, the SA Sprints and the South African Sprint Canoeing Championships.
RCL FOODS sugar business unit promotes local community upliftment through its annual soccer tournament, the Selati Cup. The Selati Cup has become a visible sign of what can be achieved in areas where there are few facilities, and it has attracted the interest of other sponsors who fund infrastructure and youth development programmes around this initiative.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the chicken business unit supports the Amazulu Football Trust, which targets schools where Hammarsdale Star Schools learners come from, teaching them both soccer and life skills.
RCL FOODS supports the annual Young Performers musical production, which gives high school learners the opportunity to experience working with professional directors and musicians.
RCL FOODS supports LIV Village and Vukukhanye on a monthly basis with their running costs, and our BEE partner, Ikamva Labantu, supports many community projects in and around Cape Town.