From our Headquarters in Muldersdrift.

Being a responsible corporate citizen extends beyond how we treat our staff and stakeholders - it includes our everyday decisions that impact our environment and the future sustainability of our natural resources.  It’s not enough to just engage on social media and ‘look’ good on the outside.  Our daily schedules and operational practices are what make the long-term difference.

South Africans can be proud that COP17, the largest conference to be hosted in Africa, will make us the centre of the world’s attention, creating an opportunity for us to play a valuable role in implementing sustainable practices within business and society.

As the world addresses the climatic pressures in relation to global warming and the sustainability of non-renewable resources, Durban/eThekwini will become the hub for environmentalists, climatologists and renewable energy advocates at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17).

In November, this high-level UN summit will attract an estimated 15 000 delegates, representing 190 nations.  Local government says that it has already booked 20 000 hotel beds and has asked SA Airways to keep tickets open for the duration of the conference.

High on the agenda will be the way forward after the Kyoto Treaty expires at the end of 2012.  The objective of the Kyoto climate change conference (1997) was to establish a legally binding international agreement, whereby all the participating nations commit themselves to tackling the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. The target agreed upon was an average reduction of 5.2% from 1990 levels by the year 2012.  (click here for more info on the treaty)

The question to us, then, is this: “How are we running socially and environmentally responsible businesses?”.

Over 70% of our staff are housed at our SMS headquarters in Muldersdrift where we use our own ground water and employ energy saving techniques, such as solar-water-heating, to minimise our impact on the environment.  We also provide group transport to over 90% of our staff to reduce unnecessary emissions and expenses linked to extra road-travel.

In addition to this, our extra land is used to grow grass used for fodder and feed to the local and surrounding farms.  Our on-site staff grow their own vegetables and many keep livestock for food.  All of this reduces the impact that our organisation has on the environment and community in which we operate and encourages our staff to do the same.