Barloworld contributes to South Africa’s socio-economic development and the stewardship of natural resources in the communities in which it operates. The group’s social investments are guided by its value-based management approach which ensures that it searches for solutions which add sustainable value for its stakeholders over time.
Balancing short-term actions with longer-term value creation
Barloworld views socio-economic development and the stewardship of natural resources as an investment in the future. This belief is guided by the group’s sustainable development framework, which acknowledges transformation as an important business lever and recognises environmental protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation as strategic imperatives and the hallmark of responsible corporate citizenship.
In keeping with its values of responsible corporate citizenship, Barloworld supports South Africa’s national development agenda and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To achieve this, Barloworld proactively establishes flagship and legacy projects, and allocates the majority of funding budgets to flagship projects. The remainder of funding budgets are allocated to welfare and charity organisations as well as
humanitarian and disaster relief organisations.
Enabling growth and progress in society
Barloworld’s social investments are built around two pillars: social impact enablers and wealth builders. Social impact enablers allow the group to drive economic sustainability and contribute to the well-being of the communities in which it operates by supporting education, food security and social innovation interventions.
Social impact enablers also create opportunities for Barloworld employees to participate in volunteerism programmes including workplace giving, hands-on volunteerism and skills-based volunteerism. Wealth builders advance inclusive economic transformation and growth, and include a broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) scheme and an enterprise and supplier development (ESD) programme.
Social impact enablers
- Driving economic sustainability, transformation and growth with the aim of creating greater social impact through support of social enterprises.
- Agriculture and agro-processing
- Social innovation
- Workplace giving
- Hands-on volunteerism
- Skills-based volunteerism
Social impact enablers
Mbewu was launched by Barloworld in 2019 to provide support to social enterprises and start-ups that work innovatively to solve challenges in society through their entrepreneurial activities. The programme seeks to drive economic sustainability, transformation and growth through development, funding and facilitating access to markets for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Mbewu maximises social value creation by providing
both financial and non-financial support to social enterprises that have demonstrated scalability. Social enterprises receive support over a period of three to five years.
Twenty-nine social entrepreneurs participated in Mbewu in 2021. Participants received business development training and support, and a combined funding of R13 million. They were further assisted with access to markets and other development funders in future. During 2022, 20 new social entrepreneurs were recruited into the
programme. They too received business development training and support.
Through the Barloworld Trust, which was first established in the 1970s, Barloworld commits an average of 1.6% of net profit after tax (NPAT) to socially relevant programmes, which are aligned to the group’s business strategy. This allows the business to achieve its purpose of inspiring a world of difference, and enabling growth and progress in society. The Trust’s focal areas are education, agriculture and agro-processing, and social innovation. The impact
of the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the challenge of poverty and access to healthcare services in marginalised communities. As such, a discretionary funding is directed at health and welfare initiatives.
The Trust’s education focus is on providing access to quality education with an emphasis on improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), focusing on the training of secondary school teachers. To deliver these education programmes, the Trust partners with non-profit organisations (NPOs) with a national footprint that are involved in advocacy work as well as the practical training of teachers.
The Trust’s agriculture and agro-processing programmes focus on access to tertiary education as well as increased participation of women and youth in the sector. Social innovation initiatives are aimed at supporting conservation and environmental sustainability as well as resolving challenges facing local communities, including people living with disabilities.
Barloworld’s employee volunteerism programme is a key pillar of the group’s social investment strategy and encourages employees to give back to their communities. Employee volunteerism includes workplace giving of funds and goods, hands-on (on-site) volunteerism and skills-based volunteerism, which include both education and business skills. The programme is built on the belief that investing in corporate volunteer programmes offers
long-term rewards through employee retention and engagement. The participatory nature of volunteerism not only positively impacts an employees’ perception of the company but creates a more meaningful connection to the greater community.
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, Barloworld developed an online platform to enable its employees to continue
with their volunteering activities. This enabled employees to contribute to causes close to their hearts and reach even more people than they would have been able to reach previously. Barloworld will continue to integrate digital platforms in its volunteerism programme.
Partnership with SAB Foundation
Barloworld is a purpose-driven organisation that understands the importance of prioritising the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. The group also understands the importance of focusing vulnerable groups, many of whom are neglected and function on the edge of society. It is for this reason that Barloworld has increased its focus on and support to people living with disabilities.
During 2022, Barloworld established a partnership with the SAB Foundation, an organisation with extensive experience in implementing initiatives that target people with disabilities. Through the partnership, Barloworld provided R1 million in funding to support skills development training and entrepreneurial programmes targeting 12 people.
The group believes that by partnering with like-minded organisations that have a proven track record in implementing community development programmes and expertise in specific areas of interventions, it can achieve scale. Collaborating with SAB Foundation has enabled Barloworld to deepen its understanding of the challenges facing people with disabilities and contribute to their health and wellbeing in a meaningful manner.
- Mozambique and South Africa, especially KwaZulu-Natal and to certain extent the Eastern Cape, have been lashed by cyclones and heavy rains that have washed away bridges and rendered some roads unusable.
- In South Africa, reports indicated that 443 people have lost their lives while in Mozambique the death toll was reported at 53 people.
- Barloworld Group had 109 employees who were directly impacted; the support to communities and employees with food parcels, temporary accommodation and drinking water continues.
- Partnership with Habitat for Humanity for the infrastructure rebuild and restoring dignity to communities that have lost their homes.
- Employees volunteered during this difficult period by contributing much-needed help such as groceries and other non-perishable items.
From humble beginnings in 1902, Barloworld has grown from a woolen goods, blankets and coats reseller in Durban into a major distributor of leading international brands. Today Barloworld is an industrial processing, distribution and services company with two primary areas of focus: industrial equipment, and services and consumer industries (food and ingredient solutions). Barloworld aims to inspire a world of difference, enabling growth and progress in society. Barloworld commits to be a responsible corporate citizen delivering products, services and solutions that generate sustainable outcomes.