Significantly greater response to the threats of climate change resulted in the toughest year yet for judges of the Climate Change Leadership Awards, who announced the ten category winners at a carbon neutral event held in Sandton at the end of March. This green competition and awards is the first in Africa to recognise, reward, motivate and celebrate businesses, communities, youth, schools and individuals leading the way in climate change response and mitigation.
“These third annual awards demonstrate that they are achieving their desired result with improved quality of entries from schools, greater diversity from individuals and communities, and growing carbon offset innovation from SMEs,” said Jeunesse Park, founder of Food & Trees for Africa and the CCLA. “The Local Municipalities category, however, had a unanimously clear winner and the private sector is growing from strength to strength in its efforts to deal with climate risks and opportunities.”
Andile Ncontse of Litha Communications announced the evolution to the continent wide Climate Hero Awards Africa, which will kick off on October 1, 2012, World Habitat Day.
“The Climate Hero Awards Africa has its origins in the resounding success of the Climate Change Leadership Awards,” said Ncontse. “As a continental response to climate mitigation, the Awards were established with the realisation that tackling the climate change challenge cannot be confined to artificial borders but require a concerted effort from all stakeholders in society across the continent.”
This year the scope of categories was expanded and judging methodologies evolved to sustain the spirit of the awards and cater to growing interest across the board.
Winners of the Climate Heroes of the Climate Change Leadership Awards, 2012 :
Schools or Youth Groups sponsored by Pick n Pay:
In first place is Mailakgang Primary School with its peer educator concept for recycling, tree planting, food gardening, and water conservation linked to climate change awareness, that reaches beyond its own school of children to neighbouring schools.
Communities and individuals sponsored by the South African Post Office:
First place went to The Reporting Development Network Africa, for demystifying climate change, with a specific focus on community education and training the media. It interrogates the way that issues of climate change, food security and overall global sustainability are being framed by journalists when they communicate to the general public.
Waste Minimisation sponsored by ABI, the soft-drink division of SAB:
Foodbank South Africa was the outright winner. It is a project clearly dealing with both aspects of climate change, mitigation (avoidance of emissions from landfills) and adaptation (dealing with food security), by reclaiming food which would potentially be wasted and redistributing this to those that really need it.
The Agriculture and Food category was won by The Coca-Cola Company, which is addressing climate change through two main areas: cutting carbon emissions and increasing energy efficiency. The judges awarded a special mention to a local firm producing what is believed to be the country’s first carbon-neutral cheesery: Fairview.
The Energy, Minerals and Industrials category was won by Gold Fields Limited, which has been aligning its business with emerging, global low carbon emissions economies since 2005, and has a clearly defined carbon management strategy, and multiple energy efficiency projects.
Santam won the Financials category for its part sponsorship of a research project in partnership with the CSIR, University of Cape Town and WWF, the outcome of which illustrates how human-induced impacts on the ecological buffering capacity of the system have an equal or greater impact on risk, as compared to future climate change predictions.
RISO Africa won the Other Corporate Services category for its off-the-grid printing solution called Risolar, which makes it possible for rural educational institutions without electricity to print 90 pages per minute using solar power.
Pick n Pay won the retail category due to its new world-class, eco-friendly stores and its ongoing commitment to climate change education programme.
The SME category was won by Earth Patrol for many reasons, summarised by its depth and breadth of commitment to environmentally sustainable solutions for its customers and partners.
The Municipality of Cape Town was the runaway winner of the new Local Municipalities category for its long term sustainability strategy, a string of deployed initiatives, and setting the national example. A special mention goes to eThekwini Municipality which implemented a range of activities throughout the past year.
Schools/Youth Group category winners share R35 000 in gift vouchers from Pick n Pay amongst the three winners, and winners in the Community and Individual category share R100 000 from South African Post Office. Waste Minimisation heroes get financial assistance from Amalgamated Beverage Industries, with educational courses sponsored by Global Carbon Exchange.
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
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SME Insurance Checklist For New Year
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers, advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies.
Business owners who are planning for the year ahead should not overlook the importance of reviewing their insurance policies to ensure they are adequately covered against insurable risks.
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers says, every year businesses face unique challenges ranging from credit and market risks, technological disruptions, compliance, operational and regulatory risks, amongst others. As a matter of precaution, insurance policies should at least be reviewed or updated once a year.
He advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies:
- Employee movements – if there are any employees who have left or joined the company, ensure that your policy is updated accordingly.
This type of cover normally depends on the role and contribution of the employee to the business. For instance, directors may be covered for Key Person Insurance and Directors & Officers Liability insurance.
- Protest Actions – this year is the national election year and leading up to elections we can expect to see an increase in the frequency and severity of protest actions, riots and strikes. Thus, it is essential to ensure that adequate special risks cover is in place from the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (SASRIA).
SASRIA provides cover to both individuals and businesses against special risks like civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism at affordable premiums.
- Cyber risks – it is essential to communicate with your insurer or broker and find out if there are any new risks that your business should be protected against. Cyber incidents continue to be a major risk for businesses especially in the SME sector. Over the last couple of years there has been a major increase in the number of reported cyber incidences.
More businesses are now facing increased cyber threats due to their increased dependency on technology, relating to their internal and customer data being compromised by fraudsters. It is therefore essential to have some form of cyber risk insurance cover and/or enhancement of data security protocols.
- Regulatory changes – every year there are a number of regulatory changes that impact businesses directly or indirectly, which may result in fines and penalties for non-compliance.
- Natural catastrophes – the increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather conditions, coupled with intensifying natural catastrophes will continue to have a significant impact on businesses.
Businesses should ensure they are adequately protected against these risks to avoid incurring sever financial losses.
- Business changes – should a business consider moving to a new location, purchasing new premises or venture into new business activities, these types of changes could have a major impact on its risks profile. As a result, the policy needs to be updated accordingly.
- New and Enhanced products – An innovative culture has taken over the insurance industry and ever so often we see the introduction of new products or the enhancement of existing products. Get in touch with you broker to advise you on any new products that might add value to your existing insurance portfolio.
“Reviewing your policy regularly gives you peace of mind knowing that you can focus on running your business effectively, without worrying about unforeseen risks,” concludes Maupa.
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