Profit with purpose: Let’s put it into perspective

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“Our move toward social responsibility is a natural one. Our culture has persisted over the centuries because of our ability to work together.” Regency Global has a deep commitment to inclusive development that elevates society. With founding pillars of shared value creation and inclusive growth, we believe South Africa will only become a great nation if companies unite under one shared goal: profit with a purpose. But, South Africa needs a new agenda in order to bridge our gap of social inequalities. We are still identified as one of the most unequal societies in the world, overtaking even Brazil, and surprisingly, these inequalities have worsened over our last 24 years of political freedom.

Purpose needs to quickly become the guiding pillar for organisations who understand what is required to remain relevant in the long term to customers, clients, employees, investors, and stakeholders across the board. South Africa’s corporate social investment narrative has changed; from haphazard ‘hand-outs’ to providing support, mentorship, and business assistance to incubate and drive social transformation and economic growth.

More than ever, the importance of sharing these stories is increasingly apparent. Outstanding sustainable business practices need to be shared and learnt from. Individuals and small businesses of South Africa aren’t looking for aid, they’re looking for a chance to develop themselves, grow others with them, and be able to reinvest their profits in themselves or their country’s new economic framework.

According to Trialogue’s Business in Society Handbook which annually examines CSI in South Africa, despite our tough economic conditions, companies in our country have invested over R9 billion in social responsibility endeavours, compared to just R1.5 billion 20 years ago. More importantly, we’re up from 35% to 45% in non-cash ‘donations’ in the last year, where companies are understanding the need to provide products, services, and time – instead of just money.

Let’s put it all into perspective. Year after year, Woolworths is recognised for its CSI initiatives; committing to make an impact in transformation, social development, climate change and the environment. Their list of sustainable endeavours is impressive – so, what are they doing right?

  • In 2007, Woolworths launched the Good Business journey to set new standards across all areas of transformation.
  • Since wholesome food is at the core of their business, Woolworths run several sustainable agriculture programmes, including EduPlant, a food security and greening programme which supplies 100s of schools and communities with fresh produce.
  • MySchool programme, which supports over 8,000 schools, NGOs and other charities.
  • They have a ‘Black Employee Employment Share Ownership Scheme’ which has distributed R332m of profit since inception.
  • Almost a 50% reduction of water and electricity use across all South African stores.
  • Even a paltry R10.7m was raised for charity through just through their sales of reusable bags.

And the list goes on. We don’t expect you to pry the ‘Responsible Retailer of the Year’ awards out of their hands, but there are a lot of inspirational ideas going around over there.

Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa, believes that we need “introspection of what we can all do as South Africans to achieve inclusive social economic growth”. Our compassion, determination, and sense of ubuntu – “I am because of who we are” – are what sets our great country apart from others. Should you not be asking yourself, what more can we do?

#BLSA #BusinessBelieves #CSI #SAInc #SouthAfrica

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