Bureau Veritas Southern Africa recently held a conference to discuss the integral role corporate social responsibility plays in uplifting all sectors of society and the country as a whole. With input from the Public Relations Society of South Africa (PRISA) as well as the company’s Ithemba Trust, the think tank served to commemorate Mandela Month and open up discussion about what other corporates could do to include corporate social investment in their brand strategy.
The company, renowned for services and innovative solutions to ensure client products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility; completed a month-long campaign around social justice, education and socio-economic upliftment.
The Bureau Veritas Corporate Responsibility Team
Under the auspices of VP for Bureau Veritas Southern Africa , Sal Govender, the company’s Human Resources team, through the leadership of Beatrice Scharneck, set about making a social and economic difference in the lives of beneficiaries in the regions in which the company employees live and work. Bureau Veritas enjoys a strong ethos of actively demonstrating social responsibility by regularly supporting communities through education, technical, safety and environmental societal causes. Changing South Africa one person at a time, the Bureau Veritas Corporate Responsibility Committee encouraged all employees to commit to making a difference in the lives of others through a moving Pledge Ceremony marketing the launch of the campaign on 1 July. The Ithemba Trust launched in 2018 and also lent gravitas to the July campaign, championing the weekly activations with motivational speeches and words of encouragement for the beneficiaries.
Sal Govender shares the importance of paying it forward and creating lasting legacies for tomorrow, while bursary beneficiary Enos Mabunga looks on
Weekly activations saw the company pay visits to various beneficiaries. On 8 July, Bureau Veritas visited Home of Hope, an orphanage for abused and neglected young girls, whose vision is to end child trafficking and tackling the culture of sexual exploitation, violence and criminality. The company provided the girls with new footwear, toiletries, games, cosmetics, and nail and foot care products.
Mandela Day, 18 July, saw the Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Sasolburg branches of the company give back to society and enhance the lives of others in meaningful ways. Ntsikana Primary School was paid a visit by Bureau Veritas, and 10 laptops were donated to the computer laboratory, which only had two computers for the 1100 learners. An employee book drive ensured a sizeable literature contribution was donated to the school. The Cape Town office visited St Anne’s Homes, a safe house for women and moms with their children. Donating stationery for the women’s workshops and kiddie party packs for the children, the company also provided hygiene products for the woman and baby food for the babies. In her private capacity, Bureau Veritas employee, Elna Matthews made 24 dog jackets and donated 12 of these to Vaal Pets and the remaining dozen to the SPCA; as well as dog and cat food.
Later in the month, on 22 July, the Bureau Veritas Centurion branch supported the local Sammy’s Day Care Centre by painting classrooms in bright, happy colours, enhancing the sustainability of the premises. The company invested ten laptops into the centre’s computer laboratory, a much-needed educational tool. Employees repaired ablution facilities and provided artwork materials for the young children, as well as party boxes and lunch. The teachers were gifted with mugs and sought-after stationery.
The 25 July saw Bureau Veritas join hands with a non-profit organisation, Baby’s Home in Umlazi, Durban, a place of safety for abandoned and/or orphaned babies. The company donated a much-required microwave to the Home as well as “infant boxes” comprising of bottles, blankets, nappies, baby formula, baby wipes, baby toiletries and clothing. Employees also spent time with the carers and babies in the Home.
Ithemba Trust beneficiary Keletso Mokoena shares how her life has changed since receiving a full circle bursary
Bureau Veritas will be bringing the ethos of social change alive by ensuring an annual calendar of sustainable and long-term change is implemented by employees. Plans are afoot to embed and drive ‘making every day a Mandela Day’ a reality and so collectively the company employees can actively demonstrate social responsibility thereby changing South Africa one person at a time. Commenting on the campaign Scharneck says, ‘It is our responsibility to work together as employees, and indeed as a nation, to effect positive change that will enhance the lives of others. At Bureau Veritas, we believe in creating an empowering environment to serve our future leaders and fellow citizens. We have started, one step at a time, and will continue to do this. It is part of our social and moral fibre.’
The month-long campaign culminates in an event where, together with the Public Relations Institute of South Africa and propelled along by Master of Ceremonies, the able and entertaining Mr Siya Sangweni, the strategy is revealed to media and corporate South Africa; with the goal to share the details in an effort to encourage similar campaigns being launched into the market and thereby a true reflection of a united nation truly ‘changing South Africa one person at a time.’
Commenting on the campaign and the importance of including corporate social responsibility into a company’s branding strategy, an excited Govender notes, ‘We at Bureau Veritas will continue to pay it forward, we will continue to give back to the communities we work and live in. We will continue to be the change by creating lasting legacies for tomorrow.’