Our mission is to drive and monitor the group’s sustainability journey. This journey ensures compliance with relevant legislation, provides guidance and training and identifies and addresses risks and opportunities associated with growing the company in a sustainable manner.
We provide services in the following areas:
- Drive the Group's sustainable business strategy
- Annual submission to the JSE SRI Index
- Manage and coordinate the company’s integrated annual report
- Developing and reporting on the groups carbon footprint through the CDP and our Climate Change Framework
- Developing and reporting on the groups water footprint through the Water CDP
- Annual feedback to the UNGC Communication on Progress
- Safety, health and environmental (SHE) training and awareness campaigns
- Identifying and driving green initiatives
- Stakeholder engagement
- Sustainability in the supply chain
Message From Dr Pieter van der Walt - Altron Group Manager Information Integration
For over 50 years, Altron has been writing its business sustainability strategy. The fact that Altron has been around for so long, in itself, implies that the company has been sustainable since its inception in 1965.
The launch of our first formal sustainability strategy in 2012 only marks the day that Altron has put their sustainable business plan on paper for all to see and recognise.
Looking at the world around us, several sectors of the South African economy are currently receiving practical lessons in sustainability.
In the Western Cape, for instance, the wine and spirits industry is facing massive losses, not in terms of this year’s harvest but also as far as a future slice of the global table grapes and wine market is concerned.
In the northern parts of the country, the mining industry as a whole is struggling to find its way out of the chaos that has been created by a convergence of a number of factors – economic, social and environmental. The announcement of Anglo Platinum’s restructuring plans that will see 14 000 mining jobs lost, just added insult to injury, sparking national debates about how far a company’s social and financial responsibility extends. Sustainable business practices have never before been under the spotlight as it has been the past few years.
The time has come for all of us to take a longer term view in the interest of our collective well-being. To most of you the Altron Sustainability Strategy sounds like another green initiative, however this strategy is much more than conserving electricity and planting trees in townships. It is about how we source materials, how we run our operations, what products we develop, how we interact with employees, customers and shareholders. In short, the Sustainability Strategy is about how we do business.
If one had to ask a 100 people what they regard as “a sustainable business” you are sure to get a 100 different definitions, each probably saying the same or similar thing. For Altron, our sustainability strategy can be encapsulates as follows: “business sustainability represents resiliency over time – the ability to survive shocks because the business is intimately connected to healthy economic, social and environmental systems. Such a business creates economic value and contributes to healthy ecosystems and strong communities. In return for their investment, sustainable companies have been shown to attract and retain employees more easily, and experience less financial and reputational risks. They are also more innovative and adaptive to the ever changing environment”. This touches on all four core strategic objectives for the group.
As any good strategy, it evolves and grows with a company. Altron’s sustainability strategy is no different. Our approach evolved from an initial focus on BEE, followed by a CSI emphasis and more recently environmental issues. In 2004 we produced our first Sustainability Report and in 2010 we led the way by being one of the first companies in South Africa to produce an Integrated Annual Report. From a few paragraphs tucked away in the back of the annual report, sustainability is now evident on every page.
Given this progression, a fully-fledged sustainability strategy that sets out how we do business was the next logical step. Sustainability is no longer a part of our business, it is our business – it is part of our DNA. Since its inception 50 years ago, the group has lived according to the principles of long-term benefit for all. We may not have had the sustainability vocabulary, processes and structures that exist today, but doing the right things for the right reasons has always been part of our ethos and culture. With this strategy, we simply formalise and give structure to our way of life. It is now just more visible and better communicated.
Altron’s strategy is graphically represented by the five fingers on a hand, more specifically, the fingerprints. This ties in with the strategy slogan, “Our DNA, Our Future”, and points to the fact that sustainability is intimately woven into everything we do and everything we are as a business.
The fingerprints represent the following:
- The purple print denotes Financial Sustainability, with the core objective of improving profitable revenue growth through expansion.
- The red print represents human capital, with the core objective of investing in our biggest asset – our people.
- The blue print signifies our products and service offerings, our objective is to lead through innovation by embracing technology and market shifts.
- The green print, contrary to belief does not only include our environment, but indicates all our external relationships. The objective of which is to build and maintain strategic alliances and key partnerships, addressing and anticipating client and customer needs, whilst protecting the environment and investing in the communities we operate in.
The thumb (black print) presents the combined strategy and the integrated approach of the group. Just as a hand has very limited functionality without a thumb, so too the individual themes/fingers cannot reach their full potential without the combined efforts of the strategy.
From this outline, it is clear that the Sustainability Strategy reaches into every corner of our business. Everything we do in the group has to dovetail with the strategy so that we can:
- Do business for longer
- Do business better
- Be the best in what we do
- Employ the best people, develop and retain them
- Improve and grow the bottom line
- Anticipate risks and seize opportunities
The launch of our strategy marks the next step on our sustainability journey for the Altron Group. Much effort has gone into developing the Sustainability Strategy but without implementation it cannot be anything more than a well-produced document. The time has come for us, as the Altron leaders, to take the baton and accept responsibility for our part of the journey.
Going forward, we will continue to identify our material issues (also known as risks and opportunities) and continue to have meaningful engagement with all our stakeholders. As a group we would like to believe that, in another 50 years from now, the management team of 2065 might look back and say that this strategy set the tone for the great successes Altron has already achieved.