Environment Of Business

In September 2012, IT firm Dimension Data paid out R1.26 billion to the various participants in a broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) deal that the company had signed eight years earlier. When Dimension Data had first embarked on its empowerment journey, legislated BEE in South Africa had been in its fledgling stages and, to a large extent, companies such as Dimension Data had to write their own rules. On the eve of the payout, Jeremy Ord, Dimension Data’s executive chairman, reflected on the outcomes of the deal, including the successful growth of the company’s Middle East and Africa (MEA) division. He wondered, too, what he would do differently, if he had to do it all over again.

 

No of pages:  18

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In 2014, South Africa experienced its longest and costliest strike ever: a five-month stoppage in the platinum sector that cast doubt on the institutions and culture of the country’s labour relations framework.  After the strike came to an end in late June, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac)  convened a meeting to discuss ways of preventing further violent and protracted industrial action. Among the questions confronting delegates at this gathering was whether labour unrest could be addressed by altering the laws and institutions regulating strikes. Or would any such reforms prove largely futile in the absence of political and economic change?

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Planning and Finance Minister, Luisa Diogo, faced one of her most critical leadership challenges as a government official. She was charged with the negotiations for the approval of a poverty reduction strategy (PRSP), which was a condition for Mozambique receiving significant debt relief as part of a debt initiative sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. This ‘heavily indebted poor countries’’ (HIPC) initiative was central to Mozambique’s continued economic recovery. Diogo needed to ensure that progress towards economic development continued. She considered what might be the best way of achieving agreement on the poverty reduction programme, so as to secure much needed debt relief for Mozambique.
 
No. Pages: 21 
 
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Pick n Pay’s initial steps to address environmental issues in the 1980s culminated in 2007 with the launch of its Sustainable Development Vision and Action Plan. Although the plan commits the organisation to a number of environmentally-friendly goals, a particular focus is on reducing carbon emissions. Pick n Pay has identified climate change, and the carbon emissions that are contributing to the global phenomenon, as presenting a risk not only to the business, but to broader sustainability as well. The plan commits the organisation to reducing its overall carbon footprint − and specifically its energy consumption − by 20% per square metre of trading space by 2012 (based on 2007 baseline figures).
 
At the same time, however, the company intends to increase its trading footprint by 12% a year over the same period. The biggest challenge for Tessa Chamberlain, general manager for sustainable development at Pick n Pay, lies in the conundrum of balancing these two goals. Can Pick n Pay achieve both, or will achieving one goal necessarily compromise the other?
 
No. Pages: 11 
 
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It was October 2007, and a perfect early summer’s day in Cape Town. In his small loft office, Michael Meltzer, founder of Zacron Industries CC trading as Polecat, which manufactured and marketed a patented clasp and claw device used in shopfitting as well as many other applications, was deep in thought. His business, which had shown impressive growth since 2005, was poised to take a further quantum leap forward. The question he asked himself was whether he had the capacity to cope with such extensive expansion? He had started out with a very ambitious business plan, but wondered whether he should be reassessing it in the light of how the business had developed thus far.
 
No. Pages: 12 
 
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Six months had passed since the South African government had gazetted draft regulations on salt content in food. Now, in December 2012, the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, was reviewing the submissions received on the proposed laws. As the comments had come in from individuals, corporates, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics, the public health sector and civil society, Motsoaledi had realised that he would be facing some resistance to his department’s proposals. Yet, he had long felt that the health and broader socio-economic impacts of excessive salt consumption in South Africa were too high, and that salt intake should therefore be brought in line with international best practice. The question was whether it was better to regulate or motivate?

No of pages: 20

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In May 2008, Johannesburg’s Sandton City shopping complex was on the road to recovery from its experience that January, when it was hit hardest of all shopping centres in the country by Eskom’s random power cuts. Sandton City general manager, Gary Vipond, and Dorcas Ledwaba, the director of property management at Liberty Life Properties, which owns the complex, had managed to find ways of saving electricity, and had put a solution in place involving generators and inverters. Planned power cuts had taken place for a short period in April, but Eskom had sinced announced that it would cease planned power cuts and would try to provide continuous power. Yet the two knew that the electricity situation was still critical. They wondered whether the short-term solutions they had implemented would serve the shopping complex effectively until 2014, when Eskom envisaged being on track again.
 
No.of pages: 6
 
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On Saturday 13 January 2007, the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, stepped up to the podium at a mass rally of African National Congress (ANC) supporters in Witbank, Mpumulanga to deliver the annual January 8 Statement of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC). Although its purpose was to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the ANC, the event also provided an opportunity for the ANC leadership to project a united front after a year of turmoil within South Africa’s ruling political party.
 
No. Pages: 36 
 
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It was 15 February 2004 and Gerhard Nicolaus, director: metals and allied industries in the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), was preparing for a potentially accrimonious meeting of stakeholders in the scrap metal industry. Since 2001, local purchasers of recycled aluminium had expressed concern that the prices of recycled aluminium in SA were inflated, and that scrap was being exported at the expense of local demand. As a result, in May 2003, the minister of trade and industry had signed a new policy that prohibited the granting of export permits for specific classes of scrap and forced the scrap merchants to supply the domestic industry first. This meant that the scrap merchants faced a possible cutback in profitability, because the export market was very lucrative. The scrap merchants had protested vociferously and implementation of the policy was delayed. Nicolaus’s main objective was to maximise beneficiation in SA and he believed that the new policy should be regulated by the industry itself. But how could a win-win scenario be brought about for all the parties?
 
No. Pages: 26 
 
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In February 2009, Justin Smith, manager of the Good business journey at Woolworths, a leading South African department store, was a worried man. Woolworths had launched its five-year sustainability strategy just under two years before. After undertaking an impact assessment, Smith was concerned that the original targets – which covered transformation, social development, the environment and climate change (see Exhibit 1) – had been set without a clear understanding of exactly what it would take to achieve them.
 
Woolworths had recently identified 10 key risk areas that impacted on the achievement of its original goals. If the sustainability goals were not reached, Woolworths could lose credibility among its shareholders, staff and consumers. What did Woolworths need to do to ensure that it achieved its sustainability goals?
 
And had the company been too ambitious in the targets it had set initially, he wondered?
 
No. of pages: 24
 
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