Rebuilding our continent’s reputation

Investments in African businesses grew by almost 300% in
the past year.1 The growth in business opportunities and investments
proves that confidence in the continent is rising.

“With the many positive changes afoot, it is important to
take stock of some of the challenges, changes, and trends that we have seen
over the last couple of years and how these may affect our approach to
rebuilding Africa’s reputation,” says Regine le Roux, managing director of
Reputation Matters.

The biggest communication
management challenge facing organisations in Africa

“One of
the biggest challenges that we are seeing on the continent is the lack of
proper risk assessment, especially when it comes to reputational issues, which
results in a lack of proper crisis preparation,” says Robyn de Villiers,
chairman and CEO of BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe) Africa, a strategic partner
of Reputation Matters.

“The
need for effective crisis management is also intensified because of social
media. A large percentage of those companies that are well-prepared for crisis
management may not have an updated social media plan in place for crisis
situations. This leaves a large gap in their level or readiness,” adds de Villiers.

“We
often see a reactive rather than a proactive approach to reputation management,
whereby organisations try to minimise reputational damage amid a crisis.
Conducting reputation research regularly will help pin point business areas
that pose reputational risks and enable organisations to address these risks to
prevent or mitigate crises,” adds le Roux.

One thing clients must do when
investing in their reputations

Le Roux recommends, “Before investing in or embarking on
any communication or marketing initiative, invest in research. Get to
understand your stakeholders, understand their mind set, perceptions and
communication preferences; it’s important to find out what is important to them
as this will help you with formulating key messages that make an impact.

“We have found that quantifying reputations gets
communicators noticed and listened to at C-Suite-level. The results provide a
solid base to work from opposed to assumptions.

“Research, specifically reputational risk assessments, helps
with the identification of possible crisis scenarios, which can then be
proactively planned for,” adds le Roux.

What are the biggest
communication changes we’ll see on the continent over the next five years?

“Africans
are going to reclaim the African narrative and focus on the many success
stories of our continent. I think connectivity will be increased all over
the continent and costs will come down so that everyone will have the
opportunity to benefit from being online.

“I
believe in the next few years public and private organisations will all have
Chief Reputation Officers in their C-Suite teams, and I hope that Africa will
be ahead of the pack in this area,” says de Villiers.

“We
want to start a movement whereby it becomes common practice for organisations
to share their reputation scores, especially as part of a due diligence process
when deciding who to conduct business with,” urges le Roux. “If your reputation
score is available for everyone to see, I am sure businesses will start
thinking very differently about how they conduct themselves.”

Getting Africa’s reputation back
on track

Africa
will only change its reputation if it takes responsibility for it and takes the
power away from all those outsiders who continue to tell her story. It’s all about changing the narrative of our
continent, and it starts with getting the ethics and reputation in place. Taking
control, and celebrating the incredible continent that is ours, is a key driver
for the African Public Relations Association (APRA), which values the
importance of research. This year for the second year in a row, APRA has
partnered with Reputation Matters to conduct research
across the continent to take stock of and measure Africa’s ethics and
reputation. We are calling on all executives, business owners and professionals
in the communication space to help drive this change, by completing the survey:
https://www.research.net/r/APRA2019

It is also available in French: https://www.research.net/r/APRA2019-Francaise

The results will be presented at the APRA conference taking
place in Kigali, Rwanda from 13 to 17 May 2019.

Continue the reputation
management discussion with us at www.reputationmatters.co.za
or call +27 (0)11 317 3861. We are also on Facebook www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters
and Twitter @ReputationIsKey

For more information about BCW visit www.bwc-global.com.


What is your organisation’s reputation score?

The
average corporate reputation score of last year’s reputation research studies conducted
by Reputation Matters, a proudly
African reputation research company, was 78.4%, a 2.2% decline from 2017
(80.6%). This score is based on ten reputation studies conducted amongst
internal and external stakeholder groups across different industries in South
Africa during the course of 2018, compared to nine studies in 2017.

“Before we start patting ourselves on the
back that the average corporate reputation score for 2018 is a distinction, we
appreciate that the sample of ten is most certainly not representative of all
businesses in South Africa. It does however highlight the conundrum that many
who work within the reputation management space are faced with; not everyone
wants their reputation measured or managed,” says Regine le Roux, managaging
director of Reputation Matters.

Decision makers of reputation studies either
believe that things are so dire within the organisation that there would first
need to be drastic changes before investing in a reputation research study, or
on the other side of the specrum, they believe that their reputation is
perfect.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in
corporate South Africa taking an interest in their reputations. Unfortunately those
who really need to, aren’t. It should become common practice for organisations
to know and share their reputation scores,” advises le Roux.

Le Roux mentions that reputation research
will assist business owners and CEO’s who believe that things aren’t as
pristine as it should be in their organisations. “The data helps form a base to
work from and it identifies priority areas within the organisation that needs
extra focus, especially when recovering from a crisis situation. For those on
the other side of the spectrum with a spotless reputation, the results will
provide bragging rights based on scientific research, and also help the
business to be proactive and navigate any uncertaintly that could result in a crisis
scenario that could catapult them quite quickly into the disaster zone,” says
le Roux.

The year
that was, 2018

Reputation Matters’
robust measurement tool, the
Repudometer®, measures ten dimensions
of an organisation that statistically works out what your organisation’s
reputation is. “A reputation is not just about clever marketing and public
relations, it is taking a serious look inside the organisation first before
engaging in any type of communication with stakeholders,” adds le Roux.

The main reason
for the decline in the research results from 2017 to 2018 is related to the purpose
of the business. There was a substantial drop of 3.4% around this aspect.

Stakeholders require
a lot more information in terms of an organisation’s purpose, both in terms of their strategic intent, for
example, where the organisation is going and how they are going to get there, as
well as corporate governance practices. It is equally important to align the
business’ strategic intent to purpose driven activities. In other words, making
sustainable social contributions; people want to know that the companies that
they are supporting are socially responsible. Stakeholders also want a lot more
transparency when it comes to understanding which companies and individuals the
business is aligned with. 

2019, the
year to be proud of your reputation

“Companies will need to be a lot more
transparent about their reputation scores. Understanding your reputation and
pain points will help you to build your business so that people will want to be
associated with you and conduct business with you. It will help with making
better business decisions.

“We believe that sharing Repudometer® scores should
and will become part of due diligence processes in the future,” adds le Roux.

To proactively manage your corporate
reputation this year, le Roux advises that organisations consider the following
three P’s as a start:

  1. Purpose: Ask yourself: What is the main purpose of the business and is it still
    relevant? Do your stakeholders know what you are offering? Do a quick test and
    ask a few of your key stakeholders to verbalise in eight words what it is that
    they think your organisation does, this will help you to ascertain whether you
    are on track.
  2. Principles: Can you fluently answer what your business’ values are and whether it
    is entrenched in your organisation? Ethics, reputation and values are all
    interlinked. Organisations need to
    operate from an ethical, stakeholder inclusive perspective and influence not
    only the sector in which they operate, but the larger environment. This also
    includes who you align yourself with; do your alliances make business sense and
    are you partnered with likeminded organisations who have similar values?
  3. Partnerships: An incredibly important aspect this year is
    to focus on stakeholder value. What value do you provide your stakeholders, and
    how does this affect their wellbeing? Stakeholder relationships, both internally
    and externally, should be maintained equally and fairly by organisations. What
    has also been confirmed from the research, is the importance of having updated
    stakeholder databases in order to 
    effectively communicate with your audience.

“Leaders will be under
even more scrutiny and society’s magnifying glass this year.
Leaders need to be focussed on purpose driven
leadership; they should be the voice of the organisation and build principled
partnerships both internally and externally. What better way to show their
success by sharing their reputation scores,” concludes le Roux.


Keep your reputation intact this festive season

Managing your personal reputation this time of year is twofold. 2018 may have been your year of achieving your big ambitious goals, targets or a hard earned promotion. Don’t throw this away with a lapse in behaviour over the holiday season. Beginning the new year with a healthy reputation could be your competitive advantage in the office.

As
we start to wrap up the work year, it is also a time where many of us take a
look at the year that has passed to see how well we have done with achieving
our career goals. How have you measured these? How has your reputation helped
you achieve your goals?

“Our
reputation research model, the Repudometer®, is very adaptable,” says Chris
Bischoff, research analyst at Reputation Matters. “Even though our research
model is used to measure reputation at a corporate level, I find that the
various reputation elements can be adapted and applied at an individual level
too.” The Repudometer measures ten different elements that make up
a reputation. Keep them in mind while you are on holiday; don’t let a lapse in
judgement ruin your reputation and stump your career growth. Even though you
might not be seeing your boss and colleagues each day during this time, you are
still representing the company you work for.   

Strategic intent is one of the first elements that we look at. It gives the direction of where you want to go. What is the vision for your future? What values drive you to make decisions to achieve this vision? Your values are also a reason why your company selected you to work with them, not just because they thought that you could do the work really well, they thought you were a good cultural fit based on similar values. Identify these values and lean on them. Your personal and work values should be aligned, this will allow you to be authentic in the work that you do. “I personally find vision boarding and setting myself massive goals at the beginning of the year really helps to keep me focussed,” adds Bischoff.   

Corporate  governance links to leadership “With your goals in mind, be your own leader,” says Bischoff. “Your determination should be matched with diligence. Deliver at a consistently high standard that you set yourself, a standard that is also in line with what the company expects from you.”

Corporate Capital looks at the human element of a business. Simply put, does a company have the right people to do the job in the best way possible? What are you doing to empower yourself to continually grow and bring more Strategic intent your position and the company? Chief Executive Officer of Gazelle Inc. gives the mentioned during a Bloomberg What values in order to stay relevant, reading is crucial; to grow a company (also a) exponentially, you need to grow your knowledge exponentially. they thought is a good way to spend some of your off time this holiday season. “good cultural Matters we are encouraged to read at least a book a month.”

ValueOffering measures the perceived value of a product or service.“Thinking about your work as your brand is a great way to manage your reputation,” says Bischoff. “Ensure that your work, to whomever you deliver it to, provides high value for that person; this is how you build trust, which is also the way many brands become successful.”

Strategic alliances refers to the company that you keep, are your friends helping you to achieve your goals; like attracts like, make sure that you surround yourself with people that are positive, encouraging and share the same values that you do?

The glue that ties all the reputation elements together is communication, including both internal and external dialogue.

Looking back at this year, how have you motivated yourself towards  achieving corporate capital? Does your internal dialogue contribute to a positive attitude Strategic intent? How you talk to yourself largely determines how you talk to others, gives the be face-to-face, telephonically or via social media. Before posting What values media think about the message that you are sending out and how it also a your reputation, keeping in mind that some recruiters do use they thought platforms to help them make a decision whether or not to consider good cultural a position. Even though it is holiday time, you still need to face be authentic and clients in the board room in January.

As the year end functions and festivities begin, remember that you still represent the company that you work corporate capital. “What you apply to manage your reputation atwork should also be applied outside of work,” says Bischoff. “Keep your goalsin mind and a healthy personal reputation will help you achieve them.”

Let us know what values are most important for managing
your reputation
.

Strategic alliances information about Reputation Matters and their reputation research tool, the Repudometer® visit www.reputationmatters.co.za.


Empowering entrepreneurs and communities one computer course at a time

Over the last six weeks, eleven small business owners and 13 members from the Saldanha community on the West Coast attended a basic computer literacy part time course at the West Coast Business Development Centre (WCDC). The course formed part of Reputation Matters’ Awesome AfriCAN initiative and was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship received from the Sea Harvest Foundation.

There were two groups that participated in this pilot project. The first group consisted of eleven small business owners, apart from sharpening their skills with basic computer skills, additional skills such as invoicing and reporting skills, including basic business English were incorporated into the course. The second group was attended by 13 members from the community who had never had an opportunity to learn how to work with a computer before. Their course included basic Word, Excel and PowerPoint skills as well as job readiness skills and CV writing.

“We are delighted that three of the community members have already landed themselves a job as a result of the additional skills that they have learnt,” said Welmarie Coetzee, chairperson at the WCDC and procurement manager at Sea Harvest.

Valencia Solomons is one of the community members that attended the classes and proudly said, “As a result of this course, I will be starting my new career as a supervisor next week. I now know how to do a quotation and how to set up a roster, something that I had no idea how to do before the classes started.”

Katrina (Katie) Jeremiah, business owner of Shalom Baking in Vredenburg is one of the entrepreneurs that attended the course, “I worked for a corporate organisation for many years, before starting my own business. It was very frustrating having years of experience, but then when venturing out on your own, you can’t really get anywhere because you don’t know how to.

“I was very scared to use a computer, and felt ‘disabled’ when it came to having to work on a computer. I have walked out of this course with pride and confidence, I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity because I am no longer afraid of a computer. Now I can work out my own quotations and do something to help my business to grow. Thank you so much to everyone for making this opportunity possible.

“Thank you too to the great facilitators Claudine Fredericks and Ashwin Jooste for their patience with us, and getting us skilled up in such a short period of time!” added Jeremiah.

Regarding the Awesome AfriCAN initiative, Regine le Roux, managing director of Reputation Matters says, “At Reputation Matters we specialise in reputation research. We often need to conduct fieldwork and depending on the research assignment, we also need to manually capture data. We saw this as a great opportunity to involve members of the communities in which we work.

“On the one side of the spectrum, our lives are being driven by artificial intelligence (AI), on the other side, many of our community members have not had an opportunity to learn basic computer skills yet; so before we can start with data capturing, we needed to take a step back and get people trained up to be confident in front of a computer,” adds le Roux.

The Awesome AfriCAN initiative looks at empowering community members. The computer course in Saldanha was the second pilot that was completed, the first one was recently completed in Imizamo Yetho in HoutBay, Cape Town. The vision is to expand the initiative that focusses on basic computer skills, data capturing, entrepreneurship development and job readiness, not just in the Western Cape, but the rest of South Africa and even the rest of the continent! “We have an amazing continent, we need to empower our people to get into the job market, which will stimulate the economy on a micro level and ultimately, the bigger picture, to stimulate the economy across the continent.” continues le Roux.

The course has been offered at no fee to the SMMEs and community members thanks to the generous contribution from the Sea HarvestFoundation and private sponsors to make the pilot a reality and to train up these dedicated 24 participants.

If you would like to get involved in this initiative, please contact Regine le Roux on awesome@reputationmatters.co.za | 083 302 1528 for more information on the West Coast Business Development Centre, visit https://wcbdc.co.za/

To continue the reputation management discussion,
visit www.reputationmatters.co.za. We are also on Facebook www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters and Twitter @ReputationIsKey


Global business directory, Hotfrog appoints South African Licensee

Moboom Ltd, owner of the global business directory Hotfrog, is pleased to announce the appointment of Reputation Matters to operate the Hotfrog platform in South Africa under license.

Australian based company, Moboom, has revolutionized how websites can be mass produced at a high quality and rendered across all devices seamlessly. Global business directory, Hotfrog, operates in 32 countries in 15 languages, and since its inception in 2006, has grown substantially to host 101million small business listings across virtually every business category.

The appointment comes ahead of the planned release of Hotfrog Digital, a complete rebuild of the directory on the patented Moboom platform.

The upgrade will ensure that Hotfrog’s small business subscribers will enhance their online presence by being part of a super-fast loading directory site, with accurate data securely hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The new Hotfrog site will provide South African subscribers with a range of upgrade options. Hotfrog will create a website for every business listed on the site at no charge; if the business wishes to keep the site, they will pay a nominal fee for hosting. This will ensure that every South African business listed has the opportunity for a professional web presence at a low fee.

In addition, through a partnership with Yext, a digital knowledge management platform, Hotfrog subscribers will also be able to easily publish their business details to many leading search engines and authoritative websites. This will ultimately boost their chances of being found online, particularly on mobile devices as at least half of the South African population owns a smartphone*.

 

Regine le Roux, managing director at Reputation Matters, says, “I am delighted to partner with Hotfrog to help deliver a cost-effective web presence to many South African small businesses.

“This initiative forms part of our Awesome AfriCAN initiative whereby we are firstly providing members in our communities with computer literacy skills, and secondly with entrepreneurial skills. We have the most amazing entrepreneurs who need just that little bit of support and guidance to help them take their businesses to the next level.

“We need to help our entrepreneurs to build reputable businesses from the outset. In the long term this will positively contribute to job creation, poverty alleviation, and ultimately positively contribute to the reputation of our country and continent, stimulating economic growth,” adds le Roux.

 

Reputation Matters will be training up community members to help build the websites, in so doing creating more jobs and at the same time helping entrepreneurs with a greater opportunity of marketing themselves.

“We aim to partner with many leading banks, charities and corporate organisations who share the same values and want to invest in our informal traders. Ultimately, we want to assist in having South African sole traders and small business owners get their business on the map and be found by consumers and helping them to grow,” says le Roux.

Gavin Burnett, Moboom Chief Executive Officer (CEO), says, “It was an easy decision to appoint Regine and her company, Reputation Matters as our partner in South Africa. She is passionate about helping local South African business operators grow their businesses and she recognizes that having a quality, cost-effective web presence is a critical component.

“While there are alternative solutions, none have the ability to scale and keep pace with the ever changing landscape of devices. Only Moboom can programmatically create stunning websites for tens of thousands of businesses and provide seamless upgrades without the client having to do a thing,” concludes Burnett.

 

The new South African Hotfrog site will be released in December 2018.

For more information on Reputation Matters visit www.reputationmatters.co.za

 

*https://businesstech.co.za/news/internet/255995/more-than-half-of-south-africans-now-own-a-smartphone-study/

 

About Moboom

The Moboom platform has revolutionized how websites can be mass produced to a high quality and render across all devices seamlessly. In partnership with AWS, Moboom has created one of the fastest loading, most secure platforms in the world which provides outstanding SEO benefits for its clients.

 

About Hotfrog

Hotfrog is a global business directory which operates in 32 countries in 15 languages. Founded in Australia in 2006, it has grown to a size of 101million small business listings across virtually every business category.

About Reputation Matters

Reputation Matters has been providing customised reputation research and management solutions since its inception in 2005. The company is 100% woman-owned and a level four, exempted micro enterprise BBBEE contributor.

Reputation Matters believes that if you treasure your reputation, you will measure it and are very proud of their proprietary reputation research tool, the Repudometer®. The model scientifically measures and quantifies organisations’ reputations based on an assessment of ten elements. The Repudometer® assists organisations in understanding who their stakeholders are, what perceptions each stakeholder group has of the organisation, and how to implement results-oriented, research-based communication solutions that helps take their reputations to the next level.

Reputation Matters’ vision is to be Africa’s go to reputation research and management partner for sustainable organisational growth. The values that drive this vision are authenticity, growth, and respect.

Reputation Matters have offices in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

For more information about Reputation Matters, visit www.reputationmatters.co.zaor call +27 (0)11 317 3861 (Jhb) | 021 790 0208 (Cpt). Reputation Matters is also on Facebook www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters and Twitter@ReputationIsKey.


Look after your employees and they will look after your reputation

Employees play an important role in building the reputation of any organisation. Their sentiment towards the company is what they will be communicating to their nearest and dearest. This is important to consider as friends and family will have a perception of the company which is based on what employees say, rather than what a fancy advertising campaign might say. Reputation Matters, a proudly African research company specialising in reputation research, has developed its Organisational Climate Survey (OCS) research model to assess what exactly contributes to employee morale, productivity, employee motivation and behaviour, and job satisfaction. These are all crucial elements when it comes to an organisation’s reputation.  By looking after your employees, you are looking after your reputation.

“We have developed our OCS based on our reputation management model, the Repudometer® to extend our reputation research scope. Employees play such a big role in driving companies’ reputations, it is therefore important to understand the collective perception of employees: what influences their motivation and behaviour; what are their operational needs and communication preferences; and how do they perceive their roles in relation to the organisation’s vision and roadmap?” says Chris Bischoff, Research Analyst at Reputation Matters. Organisational climate has a more in-depth focus on how the organisation is experienced by employees on a daily basis. It should however, not be confused with organisational culture, which relates to the “why” things happen.

Nowadays an average workforce consists of three generations, namely Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials; each of which have different communication preferences. Reputation Matters’ OCS model helps to gain greater insight into the different generations to increase engagement amongst all employees through their preferred channels of communication. This helps improve and build stronger relationships with employees.

“The climate of your organisation also has an impact on the calibre of new recruits that you attract. So it is important to have the foundation in place so that you attract the right people,” says Bischoff. “A healthy organisational climate will also positively contribute to employee retention.”

An organisation’s leadership team plays an important role in establishing the climate. The leadership team will bring certain values, goals and structures to the table and this has a great influence on the overall organisational climate and how employees interact with each other. “As a person in a leadership position, you need to realise that your employees are your company’s most valuable resource; look after them, help them to grow in their position, in turn they will contribute to overall company growth,” says Bischoff.

By having a positive organisational climate, companies will see better performance and functioning of the business. Employee motivation and job satisfaction is also impacted, which ultimately contributes to the business’ bottom line.

Reputation Matters is hosting a reputation management master class in Cape Town from 12 to 16 November 2018. Join some well-established industry experts as we discuss some of the most important reputation building blocks any organisation should have in place. Click here for all the event details.


Empowering communities one computer course at a time

Graduates from the Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg communities in Hout Bay proudly pose with their Microsoft® Office Training certificates that they have received on Friday, 19 October 2018 after completing a basic computer course at the Sijonga-Phambili Community Learning Centre in, Hout Bay. The course was facilitated by accredited trainer, Life Manuwe, founder and director of Lyfe Computer Technologies.

Over the last eight weeks, 43 community members from Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg attended a basic computer skills part time course at the Sijonga-Phambili Community Learning Centre in Hout Bay.

Life Manuwe, facilitator and director of Lyfe Computer Technologies says, “There is a massive need in our communities to learn basic computer skills. The interactive computer lessons are a couple of hours a week, where we teach basic Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook skills; skills that many people take for granted. We want to help our community members to be more employable and through this we are playing our part to get people into the job market and ultimately to help with poverty alleviation.”

The course forms part of Reputation Matters’ Awesome AfriCAN initiative. It is currently in a pilot phase to work towards empowering our community members with computer skills.

“At Reputation Matters we specialise in reputation research. We often need to conduct fieldwork and depending on the research assignment, we also need to manually capture data. We saw this as a great opportunity to involve members of the communities in which we work,” says Regine le Roux, managing director of Reputation Matters.

“Many members in our communities have not had an opportunity to learn basic computer skills yet; so before we can start with data capturing, we needed to take a step back and get people trained up to be confident in front of a computer,” adds le Roux.

The Awesome AfriCAN initiative looks at empowering community members, not just in Hout Bay, but also the rest of Cape Town, the Western Cape, South Africa and even the rest of the continent! “We have an amazing continent, we need to empower our people to get into the job market, which will stimulate the economy on a micro level and ultimately, the bigger picture, to stimulate the economy across the continent. We are currently busy with a similar project in Saldanha Bay,” continues le Roux.

The next part of the computer training is to incorporate coding, as well as sessions such as job readiness sessions, for example, how to write a CV, how to prepare for a job interview, and of course data capturing. The initiative will also look at incorporating a course on entrepreneurship development, a key component to job creation in our communities.

“The course has been offered at no fee to the community members. To be able to continue with offering these classes we need funding. We are incredibly grateful for the generous sponsorships that we have received to make this pilot a reality and to train up these dedicated 43 participants,” explains Manuwe.

Le Roux adds, “We did not want to start a new non-profit organisation, there are more than enough in Hout Bay! Instead we are working with Rotary to help manage the funds we receive from sponsorship, because we know that the funds are 100% accounted for each project it is assigned to. Also, as we expand into Africa, Rotary is one of the most credible organisations with a footprint across the continent.”

Sponsoring an individual will cost R 550.00 per person for a four week course. Classes are dedicated to 15 people at a time and the classes run from 09:00 to 12:00; 13:00 to 14:00 Tuesday to Thursday.

If you would like to get involved, please contact Regine le Roux on awesome@reputationmatters.co.za | 083 302 1528 or Life Manuwe on lyfe.moyo@hotmail.com

To continue the reputation management discussion, visit www.reputationmatters.co.za. We are also on Facebook www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters and Twitter @ReputationIsKey


Delegates share solutions toward a zero-waste future at WasteCon 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

Delegates share solutions toward a zero-waste future at WasteCon 2018

IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                     19 October 2018

Key role players in the waste and environmental management industries gathered at the Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg for the 24th biennial WasteCon conference and exhibition which took place from 15 to 19 October 2018. WasteCon is the flagship event of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), and this year speakers and delegates were encouraged to engage around the conference theme of “Implementing the Waste Hierarchy”.

“Presentations and workshops sparked numerous discussions on how we can find solutions for the waste management problems we collectively face by focussing on waste avoidance and reduction, re-use, recycling, recovery and ideally, as the last port of call the treatment and disposal of waste,” says Leon Grobbelaar, President of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA).

Some highlights from the event include:

Connecting the Waste Hierarchy and a Circular Economy

In his keynote address Doctor Ad Lansink, the Dutch founder of the Ladder of Lansink, suggested that a fundamental requirement in the roadmap to a Circular Economy is to be risk averse, seeing that we face so many environmental risks globally. Some of the most impeding risks being population growth, raw material scarcity, and political and economic stability. According to Dr Lansink some of the key challenges to implementing the Waste Hierarchy and transitioning to a Circular Economy are:

  • Closing loops in several sectors and on various levels of the waste management industry.
  • Developing new technologies.
  • Creating shared financial and behavioural values and principles.
  • Establishing shared responsibility between producers, consumers, and government.
  • Creating extended (specifically global) support.
  • Decoupling the economy from the environment.
  • A firm transition towards renewable energy.

“A transition to a Circular Economy can reduce emissions by 56% by 2050,” explained Dr Lansink.

Waste: The Ugly Reality Facing Africa

“Standing in front of you today, I realise that my first professional presentation was on the WasteCon podium 20 years ago. This led me to ponder whether the waste management industry has changed, or whether we are still stuck in old ways of thinking and implementation when it comes to waste management practices in southern Africa and the rest of our continent,” said Professor Linda Godfrey, Manager of the Waste Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap’s Implementation Unit of the Department of Science and Technology. “How do we fast track the change to a Circular Economy?”

Prof Godfrey was part of the research and development of the Africa Waste Management Outlook (AWMO) conducted under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The report was published on World Environment Day on 05 June 2018, and the initial need for such a report to be conducted on the African continent arose from the lack of waste management data that can be scaled down to a regional level. The AWMO report addresses:

  • Where are we, as Africans, in terms of waste management?
  • What are the governance issues?
  • What are the impacts of waste on the continent?
  • Possible tailor-made opportunities and solutions to move from our current state to the desired state of waste management in Africa.

“Some of our findings point to challenges such as the existence of inadequate measures to manage new and changing waste streams, and inadequate transport infrastructure which has a huge impact on the quality of food by the time it reaches the end consumer,” she explained. “In response to these challenges we often see a “knee-jerk” reaction to ban products due to these and other challenges, rather than implementing measures to address the challenges. As an example, we see Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and containers being banned which, in the context of freshwater security across the African continent, can have detrimental impacts on communities,” she continued. Prof Godfrey further suggested that the sad reality is that “many African dumpsites are filled with reusable materials and no plan for diversion because of a lack of the will to do so.”

She reiterated that by no means is the African picture all “doom and gloom”, as she highlighted many wonderful examples from Africa and southern Africa which showcase the inherent entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of our continent’s people. Among these examples are the We Cycles project which originated in Nigeria; and the Rethaka Foundations’ Repurpose Schoolbag Initiative, Bio2Watt, and Agri Protein, which are three South African based projects. Ultimately, waste management solutions that are relevant and sustainable within the African context will be key to realising the vision of a Circular Economy on our continent.

A Namibian Case Study

Gys Louw, CEO of the Namibian recycler and waste management company Rent-A-Drum, is one of the current pioneers of zero waste to landfill and shared with delegates an impressive video showcasing Namibia’s first Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) facility. It is projected that this facility will provide up to 12 000 tonnes of RDF annually for use in manufacturing processes at Ohorongo Cement, one of the most modern cement plants in the world.

Walking the Talk in terms of Green Conferencing

The IWMSA is proud to share that they implemented the following initiatives to reduce WasteCon 2018’s waste footprint:

  • The use of 100% recycled paper for the conference programme.
  • Conference presentations were loaded onto a complimentary memory stick for each delegate, and sponsors and exhibitors were recognised in the conference’s unique mobile app instead of on printed paper.
  • Each delegate was supplied with their own glass water bottle that they could refill at designated water stations around the venue.
  • No conference bags were supplied, and delegates were encouraged to bring their own bag.
  • Food waste was pre-processed on site, at Emperor’s Palace, and then removed from the venue for further composting.

To bring the message that waste is in fact a resource closer to home, the leftover food from the conference was collected, measured, and shared during the closing sessions of the event. A total of 64% of the food waste generated during the conference was pre-processed and thereafter removed for composting.

The conference officially concluded with three technical tours on Friday, 19 October 2018. “We are glad that we were able to provide delegates with the opportunity to experience waste management practices in action at the Tufflex Plastic Products, Geocycle, and Mpact operational sites,” said Grobbelaar.

“We hope that the content and benchmarks shared at WasteCon 2018 will be carried forward by delegates to ensure that we win the war against waste one day at a time and secure a sustainable environment for generations to come,” he concluded.

For more information visit the WasteCon 2018 website. To find out more about the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa visit www.iwmsa.co.za. You can also follow IWMSA on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/iwmsa) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/IWMSA).

 

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Released by Reputation Matters

Media contact:

Nadia Nel

Mobile Number: 081 439 3912

nadia@reputationmatters.co.za

 

List of references:

  1. Dr Ad Lansink. 2018. [Presentation] Challenging Changes: Connecting the Waste Hierarchy and Circular Economy.
  2. Prof Linda Godfrey. 2018. [Presentation] Waste: The Ugly Reality Facing Africa.
  3. Gys Louw. 2018. [Presentation] Striving towards Zero Waste to Landfills in Namibia.
  4. Sally-Anne Käsner. 2018. [Presentation] Waste Hierarchy – Circular Economy: Design waste out?


On Ethics and Activism: South Africa’s Nene Moment

Revelations by former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on his meetings with the controversial Gupta family sparked outrage among South Africans and was met with calls for his axing. In his testimony to the Zondo Commission on State Capture, the former Minister was faced with the stark outcome of his ethical decisions. His resignation and replacement as finance minister by former South African Reserve Bank Governor, Tito Mboweni was unavoidable for a country grappling with rebuilding its reputation.

For managing director of Reputation Matters Regine le Roux, the question of ethics in leadership in any organisation boils down to the practice of instilling ethical behaviour into the DNA of an organisation. “The leadership of an organisation (or country) sets the example of how things need to be done.  When measuring corporate reputations among South Africa’s private and public organisations, we look at ten core building blocks; corporate management is one of the first elements interrogated when it comes to assessing an organisation’s reputation.”

“To rebuild the reputation of our country we need to laude President Ramaphosa for taking quick action in this matter; continuing to fight against corruption needs to remain top of his priority list as he indicated during his state of the nation address, walking his talk on this issue is crucial,” adds le Roux

The other key element that played a crucial part in this saga is strategic alliances; your reputation is impacted by the company you keep. Even though there is no evidence of any wrongdoing from the meetings conducted at the compound between Nene and the Guptas, but purely by association and lessons that we have learnt from other similar meetings, the worst case scenario is automatically assumed.

Why are reputations so important to treasure? “As a leader your organisation and in this case, country’s positive reputation has a direct impact on the bottom line and a country’s foreign investment opportunities.”

Taking a look purely at a corporate level, if your business has a positive reputation, people will want to work for you and buy your service or product. You will attract top talent, which in turn will impact the level of service or products that people will be willing to pay a premium for, so that they can be associated with your brand.

At Ethics Monitor, Managing Director Cynthia Schoeman believes we all have a built-in radar of right and wrong and has coined the term “Ethics Activism” when referring to the role organisations should play in managing ethics within a company.

Schoeman adds, “Ethics are non-negotiable. It warrants that ethics is included as an important goal that is actively managed, supported and recognised. Expecting on-going ethical conduct without such meaningful engagement with employees is frankly wishful thinking. Given the range of challenges and improper personal agendas that can arise, regular engagement is necessary to ensure employees’ understanding and to maintain their commitment to ethical practices.”

le Roux maintains that an organisation needs to be ruthless about looking after their reputation especially because of the impact it has on the health and bottom line of an organisation (or country). “Simply put, leaders set the example and values need to be non-negotiable”.

Reputation Matters is hosting a reputation management master class in Cape Town from 12 to 16 November 2018. Join our well-established industry experts as we discuss some of the most important reputation building blocks any organisation should have in place. For more information visit https://bit.ly/2O13fbB


World Mental Health Day: Eliminating the stigma around mental health issues

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 is World Mental Health Day and a chance to reflect on what mental health means to society. “One of the greatest challenges we need to address is the stigma around mental health issues,” says Shona Sturgeon, Executive Committee Member of Cape Mental Health and Past President of the World Federation for Mental Health. As a member of the Rotary Club of Claremont’s Inner Wheel, she works closely with mental health organisations in the Western Cape to help people with these illnesses.

Mental health issues include both psychiatric problems and intellectual disability. “The stigma around mental health is huge,” Sturgeon explains. “It includes the assumption that all people with mental health issues are violent and dangerous, which is absolutely not true.” The stigma also refers to the perception that people living with mental illness cannot hold down a job, can never improve, and cannot be trusted. “A factor that plays into it is that mental health issues are sometimes accompanied by ‘weird’ symptoms like tremors or sleepiness that are caused by medication, not even by the illness itself.”

The stigma hampers the ability of people living with the illness to live full lives. “These individuals say that the stigma causes more disability than the condition itself,” remarks Sturgeon. It affects the way they are treated, and their ability to get a job and accommodation. Many of them dare not tell anyone about their condition, so that mental health issues remain hidden. This results in a lack of pressure on government to ensure that they are accommodated in hospitals and the community. It also affects their self-confidence and quality of life. “Mental health service users are so often the disadvantaged of the disadvantaged,” states Sturgeon.

To overcome the stigma around mental health issues, it is necessary for people to know as much as they can about illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and to speak openly about it. “Because of the stigma, people don’t talk and because they don’t talk, the stigma remains,” Sturgeon comments. A realisation of how common mental health issues are would also help: one in four people worldwide struggle with mental illness. “Mental health issues are a lot more common than we realise, and we can address it simply by treating mental health service users as human beings, with dignity and understanding, as we would treat other people with chronic illnesses.”

Claremont Inner Wheel has engaged with and donated to Cape Mental Health for many years. They contribute to counselling initiatives, social support opportunities, education initiatives, and professional support and upskilling for health service users in Cape Town and beyond.

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit https://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubofClaremont/.