As a leading South African food producer and a household name for some of the country’s best-loved food brands, at Tiger Brands we always believed that our products add value to people’s lives. When considering the SSED strategy for the organisation, it was important to determine how that value could be exemplified through the SSED strategy, so that SSED activities could represent and support those very brands, the organisation, and the values that the organisation upholds.
With Food and nutrition security at it’s core, our SSED Strategy consists of six interrelated focus areas:
- Food and Nutrition Support;
- Capacity building (including nutrition education, food gardening, and small business development);
- Food gardening;
- Broad-based Livelihoods Food Security Programme;
- Customer, Stakeholder and Brands CSI; and
- Employee Volunteerism.
We engaged our SSED manager, Charissa Jaganath, to understand more about this important change, which is better for the beneficiaries.
What’s the difference between CSI and SSED?
C.J: CSI has always been viewed as the charitable leg of the company, yet its core focus is on social upliftment. When we broadened the strategy to include capacity building and sustainable socio-economic development, we believed that it was also fitting to find a name that better reflected our focus. The new strategy will ensure that our beneficiaries are increasingly self-sustainable, and hence less dependent on donations. Our support of beneficiaries now includes an exit strategy so that once this sustainability is achieved, they will be able to exit our programme, allowing us to adopt new beneficiaries going forward. Sustainable Socio-Economic Development is therefore so much more than just giving and providing a helping hand for filling tummies. Our primary intent is to support sustainable economic inclusion for vulnerable communities through an integrated, sustainable approach to social investment.
What are the goals for this year?
CJ: Tiger Brands has committed1.5% of their net profit after tax to Socio-Economic Development. Our challenge is always to think very carefully about how we can use this budget to move the new strategy forward in the most effective way. Our goals this year are specifically to engage with our NGO partners- and hence our beneficiaries- on a much deeper and more meaningful level, also requiring us to effectively communicate our strategic changes. Another goal is to launch some of our pilot programmes. These short term SSED goals will be executed within the current financial year, while longer term goals will be executed over a three- to five-year period.
Along with the continuation of food parcel donations, our 2017 activities have a greater focus on capacity building and sustainability, so that beneficiaries eventually leave the programme with the ability to understand nutrition and food preparation, to grow their own food, to identify potential projects in their communities for sustainable income generation, and to successfully manage their income-generating activities and small businesses; all in an environmentally responsible way. Thus- through SSED- Tiger Brands aims not only to distribute food parcels to our beneficiaries but to also assist them in sustaining themselves and the communities they operate in.
We want not only to meet our moral obligation to society but to create a social license to operate. It’s about having approval and acceptance from society to exist as a business, and for it to be recognised that we’re contributing to the betterment of communities. This goes on to create shared value by rebuilding trust and a positive relationship with our consumers, enhancing our reputation and image and hopefully building brand loyalty in the process. Tiger Brands has 15 non-profit organisations who are partners, through which vulnerable members of the communities are reached (beneficiaries). Four of these partners are university food banks and feeding schemes. Charissa highlights that food insecurity on campuses is a reality. “We found that an alarming number of students have no food when they’re on campus and this contributes to the drop-out rate at universities.” Tiger Brands supports the universities by distributing food parcels to students and supporting this with the development of university-based food gardens.
When screening applicants, what criteria are there?
CJ: Location and reach within Tiger Brands’ operational areas are crucial. Many of the people who work at our factories live in communities that need support, and they should be the extended family that we reach out to first. Of course, we want to work with partners whose focus is in line with our focus – that is food security, nutrition, and health. We also look at whether partners have the motivation to go deeper than just receiving food parcels. That’s quite important to us- to determine if they’re actually interested in us helping them identify opportunities to achieve sustainability. * a lot of time and effort is going into beneficiary “capacity-building”. Read more on our blog.