Exxaro plays a significant role as a South African employer, offering direct and indirect jobs, skills development, and enterprise and supplier development (ESD) opportunities. It is a major contributor to energy generation and security in the country. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it demonstrated many of its values by working closely with stakeholders to assist communities.
As one of the largest South African-based diversified resources groups, listed on the JSE and a constituent of the Socially Responsible Investment Index, Exxaro is driven to make a difference in the country as well as on the continent. It has business interests in Australia, Europe and the United States of America. In the past decade, Exxaro has established itself as an organisation that is respected by its peers for its innovation, ethics and integrity. The organisation achieved this by acknowledging that it exists in a greater context. Exxaro is here to power better lives today and tomorrow, in South Africa and beyond.
Exxaro believes its growth and success depend on both its employees and the people it serves around the country. Adhering to the motto “There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’, only ‘together’ ”, the largest black-empowered resource company in South Africa has placed community development at the top of its agenda. It uses its business strength to empower communities and drive socioeconomic possibilities for each individual while applying best practices. Its proactive engagements reflect a deep understanding of societal needs and regulations.
Exxaro’s aim is to invest in initiatives that will deliver sustainable communities by maximising value creation and self-empowerment. Specific areas of investment to empower communities include education and skills development, health, infrastructure (water and roads) as well as agriculture. A common thread amongst these areas of investment is ESD, which will lead to economic development and prosperity at local community level.
A focus on socioeconomic development
Resources for Exxaro’s socioeconomic development initiatives are provided through the Exxaro Chairman’s Fund & Exxaro Foundation (ECF/EF) and the Exxaro People Development Initiatives (EPDI). The ECF/EF governs all corporate social investment (CSI), and social and labour projects in the organisation. The EPDI governs and tracks all education and skills development initiatives in the areas in which Exxaro has a footprint. To respond to the aspirations of its communities – wealth creation, dignified employment, and sustainable enterprises – Exxaro has developed an integrated ESD Committee with the strategic focus of creating entrepreneurial employment in South Africa.
A breakdown of 2019 expenditure was as follows:
|Social infrastructure||R11.89 million|
|Education (including school infrastructure)||R28.23 million|
|Enterprise and supplier development (including agriculture)||R15.94 million|
|Health and welfare||R5.03 million|
Partnering via Ecosystems
Although Exxaro has made tremendous contributions in communities, it is also conscious of the fact that it cannot solve all societal challenges alone and collaboration is needed. As a result, it has decided to embark on a programme called Partnering via Ecosystems.
The company has one definition it uses to guide it on its journey to having a positive impact on all its stakeholders:
“Partnering via Ecosystems (PvE) is a people-centred process where collaborative partnerships are formed to co-create impactful and sustainable solutions. PvE takes an open and connected stance and develops, uplifts and maintains the environment and communities through partnerships and community development projects. PvE envisions integrating sustainability, skills development and co-creation in all that we do. The aim is to develop partnerships driven by a common purpose and projects which create shared value that power better lives for all.”
Company responses during the pandemic
During the global pandemic – a time of unprecedented challenge – Exxaro’s culture ensured that the company could achieve excellence in all areas of responsibility, despite having to stay apart while working together. It worked hard to identify community needs to ease their burdens.
To achieve this, Exxaro was open and connected, finding innovative ways to collaborate and work as a team, as well as partner with local authorities to execute the necessary initiatives to assist communities.
It collaborated with sector members of the Minerals Council South Africa as well as the Departments of Health and Education to contribute towards urgent needs in health and education. It further collaborated with local municipalities and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agents to identify short- and long-term water challenges in communities and worked closely with nonprofit organisations to assist in the distribution of food parcels. A total contribution of R35.8 million was made towards food parcels, personal protective equipment, water and sanitation, testing laboratories, and the Solidarity Fund.
To address technical skills gaps in order to speed up service delivery and prepare for future local development and growth opportunities, Exxaro partnered with the National Business Initiative and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to deliver on the Municipal Capacity Building Programme.
To ensure that the enterprises supported through the ESD programme survive the operational challenges brought about by Covid-19, 15 beneficiaries were granted loan repayment holidays, ranging from two to six months and totalling R13.9 million. Combined, these companies have 690 employees. In addition, three companies with 272 employees also received funding totalling R4.3 million to address Covid-19 related challenges.
The initiatives that have been carried out by Exxaro’s various teams have highlighted the fact that the company takes ownership of and is responsible for its host communities, ensuring that they are safe and healthy during the pandemic. It collaborated with trade unions to reduce the sense of stigma attached to those community members with Covid-19, focusing on unity and compassion. In September, its two Covid-19 testing laboratories for employees at its operations in Limpopo and Mpumalanga reached the 100 mark. In addition, it hosted a series of activations at its mines to raise awareness about the scourge of gender-based violence, encouraging employees and communities to stand with women and girls, and make positive social changes.
Lastly, to achieve success in its initiatives, Exxaro has embraced the diversity of its people and harnessed their unique skills and opinions to achieve exceptional outcomes. Its Diversity and Inclusion Framework considers diversity and inclusion critical to creating value and strengthening stakeholder relations.
Exxaro has moved beyond compliance towards an outcomes-based approach that seeks to maximise the social value created by its contribution. Its integrated approach of partnering within and beyond its ecosystem of connections to assist and support those in need has strengthened the company on its journey to deliver impact in communities. Exxaro remains true to its vision of ‘Powering better lives in Africa and beyond’.