Corporate social investment

The dynamism of York’s corporate social investment initiatives arises from true participation and involvement within the communities.

York’s role as a social supporter is aimed at developing both communities and individuals in a sustainable manner.

York considers the community and its welfare to be integral to its accomplishments. This is achieved through the consistent application of energy and authentic partnership in determining community initiatives implemented with York’s core values at heart.

It is a principle that community initiatives are implemented purely for social upliftment, economic development and the prosperity of all. The benefits of community initiatives are aligned to human capital strategies of continually:

  • Leading and developing;
  • Attracting and engaging;
  • Reinventing and improving; and
  • Sharing the experience of the York brand and values.

Actively participating in finding solutions to community frustrations.

South Africa has witnessed individuals using protests to express their dissatisfaction toward various public and private establishments over the past year. Regardless of the motivation behind the protests, York recognises that society faces debilitating challenges daily.

The Company was not just witness to these activities, but directly affected by the protests through the damage of Company property, intimidation of employees and threatening of physical harm to employees, community members and their families, if they did not participate in the protests.

The safety of employees, their families and community members is highly valued by the Company. An interdict was obtained against the individuals who initiated and took part in the illegal protests. Due to threats, intimidation as well as possible physical assault, coupled with the loyalty of the employees not to miss their shift for the following day, employees and their families chose to sleep in the Sabie mill. Security measures were put in place and communicated to employees and their families.

Authentic community engagement has continued regardless of the unrest within the community. This includes encouraging stakeholder relations and promoting connectivity, by mediating between parties as well as facilitating solution and action-driven engagements. Further to this, York has made resources available to stakeholders with the objective of assisting with the determined projects.

These resources include financial capital such as employing professional township developers to assist with land and housing development, as well as intellectual capital including the availability of internal skilled professionals in order to determine the scope of a project and obtaining services at better rates. York supports and partners with stakeholders, including community residents, on alleviating social challenges faced daily, to the benefit of the entire community.

Spheres of community initiatives

Enterprise Development

An overarching goal of York’s enterprise development (ED) initiatives is to provide continual development to the organisations that the Group champions. These initiatives include projects such as supporting Thaba Chweu Municipality with the resources required to repair roads and infrastructure.

An additional ED investment is the provision of facilities to Child Welfare SA White River thereby empowering the organisation to render social and developmental services to children, families and communities within the demarcated service areas of White River, Sabie and Graskop.

In addition, York’s ED focus strengthened the small micro businesses belonging to York’s contractors. This was achieved by providing accommodation, offices and facilities to these contractors, as well as developing contractor employees through accredited relevant training and development.

Socio-economic development

The remaining two spheres of community initiatives include education and infrastructure.

A primary objective of community development is to partner with the stakeholders to develop viable suitable living environments, decent schooling and services with expanding economic opportunities as the Group expands. This service is essential to counter past inequalities and to confirm the Company’s commitment to broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE).

Consequently, school students were part of a programme aimed at exploring and developing leadership skills as well as applying those skills when presenting proposals for entrepreneurial and social alleviation projects. In addition, schools were assisted with major infrastructure repairs as well as new facilities.

Further initiatives include:

  • Promoting health and wellness through projects such as procuring JoJo water tanks for crèches and orphanages. Further health and wellness promotion activities include organising physical workout classes such as fitness boot camps and yoga classes;
  • Assisting communities to address basic needs such as clean drinking water through the procurement of hippo rollers. Hippo rollers are water tanks designed with handles to collect water from a point and rolling it to the desired destination for utilisation. This project assisted community members with a tool to easily acquire and have access to drinking water; and
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship through business skills development by providing skills programmes to community members. In addition, bursaries and skills programmes ensure a growth in skills capacity in order to actively engage within the economy of South Africa.

Social responsibility initiatives are hosted to focus on raising awareness towards cancer, promoting overall health and wellness, supporting the national blood service through blood donation clinics and supporting organisations for orphans, the disabled and the elderly through donations. These initiatives include the donation of clothes, personal time and labour toward establishing a functional library. Further initiatives aimed at enhancing environmental awareness include the donation of syngas stoves to schools, crèches and an orphanage.

The Business Networking Forum is an opportunity for the local and broader community to network and to listen to a speaker who would not normally be accessible in Mpumalanga. This provides an opportunity for discussion and debate and for participants to get to know York and its people. Speakers have included Zwelinzima Vavi and a blind motivational speaker, Hein Wagner.

Budget expenditure

York dedicates its annual CSI budget to projects invested in enterprise and socioeconomic development. The total budget for the 2016 financial year was R10,8 million (2015: R9,5 million). A total of R5,9 million of this budget was allocated to enterprise development and the remaining R4,9 million went to community development initiatives.

Another measure of York’s commitment to the community is its assistance regarding overall wellness. During the past financial year a total of 17 012 consultations took place at the clinics. This number includes all primary health and occupational health consultations. Some employees received more than one treatment.