Glencore remains committed to being a valued partner in all the communities where they operate. To achieve real and meaningful social impact, Glencore has been working closely with community structures and government to implement solutions to social issues as well as help build resilient, sustainable communities.
As a responsible operator, Glencore continues to effectively work towards making sure that its presence and positive impact are felt by their mining communities. To this end, Glencore Coal spent over R59 million on community investments and COVID-19 support in 2020.
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“COVID-19 in particular, presented the country with many unprecedented challenges and we felt it was even more important to implement our CSI initiatives and roll out programmes that would help alleviate some of the challenges that were brought on by the pandemic.
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“The hard lockdown exacerbated the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality and whilst the hard lockdown did pose certain challenges to the implementation of programmes and engagements with stakeholders, we understood that we needed to strengthen our commitment to our communities” said Glencore Coal General Manager for Community & Regulatory Affairs, Noel Pillay.
To support communities through the pandemic some of Glencore’s activities included:
- Launching a Community Resilience Mobile Programme to ensure testing and COVID-19 support in communities
- Mass distribution of food parcels
- Mass distribution of masks and sanitisers
- Provision of PPE and hospital equipment to the Department of Health
- Provision of free Wi-Fi to assist with live-streaming of lessons and downloading of educational material for learners
- Provision of Jojo tanks to communities without access to water
In addition to this, Glencore Coal still continued with their ongoing CSI initiatives to reaffirm their commitment to communities near their operations. Initiatives like full school uniform donations and equipping local schools with the necessary upgrades and equipment needed for an effective learning environment, are some of the consistent ways Glencore continues its support to communities.
While Glencore’s CSI spend remains a voluntary spend, the company continues to engage with key stakeholders from around its operations to establish more ways it can address the needs of the people in its communities.
“Through our engagements with community members we identified skills development as one of the key areas needed to position communities for better opportunities at becoming more employable. Skills development is particularly important to us because we understand that our mines cannot absorb everyone as an employee or give business opportunities to all.
“It is for this reason that we have made it a priority to upskill community members so they are better equipped for other business and employment opportunities. We do this simply because we care and know that it can go a long way in enriching the lives of community members.” said Glencore Coals Acting Community Manager, Ian Troskie.
To decide what courses to offer, Glencore Coal consulted members from their communities to identify which skills would best help them in alleviating some of their economic challenges. To date, Glencore Coal has succeeded in training and upskilling people from their communities in 20 different skill sets which include; events management, several engineering courses, business management, computer skills, tailor making and sewing, carpentry and welding to name a few.
One key highlight in Glencore Coal’s initiatives for 2020 was the launch of their Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) centre in eMalahleni. The business walk-in centre which is now open to local SMMEs in the area, has been designed as an economic development strategy based on building SMMEs and integrating them into competitive markets that are stronger and more inclusive. Glencore Coal is also in the process of opening another business walk-in centre in the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality area to help capacitate and develop entrepreneurs and SMMEs.
“One of our core values is Entrepreneurialism and we always aim to find new and effective ways of supporting local businesses. 2020 was definitely a year where this kind of support was pivotal not just for the survival of SMMEs but the economy itself. We are really excited about what we have managed to achieve so far and have great hope for what we can continue to achieve in the future.
“Through our business hubs, we intend to connect with local businesses in a meaningful and sustainable manner, and we believe this will serve not just these businesses but the local economy as well.” said Glencore Coals Enterprise and Supplier Development Manager, Thys Marx.
In addition to local employment and business development, Glencore’s voluntary social investment continues to form an integral part of its contribution to the communities where it operates. Through its ongoing goal to progress together with its communities and South Africa at large, Glencore continues to support programmes in community development, enterprise and job creation, health, education and the environment.