Nedbank: Business Sustainability Awards are vital

Mondi, Woolworths, Growthpoint Properties, Kumba and Xstrata came out smiling with awards from the inaugural Nedbank Capital Sustainable Business Awards ceremony hosted this week.

The wards may be seen as part of the broader march Nedbank Group to take a leadership position within the commercial sustainability paradigm. Nedbank has promoted itself as Africa’s green bank thus positioning itself for commercial opportunities arising from the sustainability theme.

Nedbank said the Sustainable Business Awards served as reminder to South African industries about the vital role that sustainability considerations play in success and leadership of the country’s businesses.

Organisations were recognised for the invaluable contributions they have made towards the promotion of sustainable practices as key requirements of business longevity, continued social and economic relevance, and long-term success.

Woolworths claimed thesustainability business award within the Trade and Services Category, GrowthPoint Properties (Infrastructure and Renewable Energy Category) and Mondi (Resources & non-renewable energy category). Kumba Iron Ore and Xstrata Coal South Africa were runners-up in the Resources & non-renewable energy category.  There was no winner in the Diversified Industrials category.

The Sustainability Leadership Award was presented to Marius Swanepoel, CEO of Imperial Logistics. Nedbank said Swanepoel was recognised for his commitment and achievements in driving effective emissions reductions both within his own organisation and across its entire supplier and value chains.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nedbank Group Chief Executive, Mike Brown, said the Nedbank Capital Sustainable Business Awards were not aimed at recognising isolated projects, but are instead aimed at encouraging South African businesses and ultimately African businesses to fully embrace sustainable business philosophies.

“For it to succeed in delivering the full transformative potential it possesses, sustainability must be at the very heart of our continent’s businesses and industries” he explained, “and the organisations and individual recognised by these 2013 awards have shown this to be the case, and have fully embraced sustainability for the ultimate benefit of their businesses, industries, society, the economy and, indeed, the entire planet.”

Nedbank said the awards came about as a natural progression from the successful Nedbank Capital Green Mining Awards, which awarded sustainability excellence in the mining industry between 2006 and 2011.

Terence Sibiya, Head: Coverage & Origination at Nedbank Capital, said the bank recognised the need that existed to broaden the scope of the awards going forward in order to embrace and encourage the progress that is being made in sustainable business practices in a variety of industries in southern Africa and across the continent.

“The purpose of the awards is to honour African business and its leaders that have made a significant effort to promote sustainable business on the continent,” he points out, “and, in so doing, are serving to redefine the traditional paradigm of “business as usual” by refocusing commerce on creating value for society and the environment without trade-offs for shareholders, suppliers and customers.”

“Even though the awards are still in infancy stage, the quality of the entries received is indicative of the commitment industry continues to make in helping the continent transform towards a greener economy”, concludes Sibiya.

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