How business functions in the context of the interdependence of the economy, society and the environment forms the basis of sustainable business. Sustainability presents business with unique challenges that until recently were dismissed as relatively unimportant. However, the level of awareness and debate of key sustainability issues such as poverty, energy security, climate change, water and food security, has increased exponentially over the past couple of years.
Notably, the King Code of Governance for South Africa 2009 places sustainability, responsible leadership and corporate citizenship at the core of corporate governance. GIBS is therefore committed to extending its already substantial contribution to preparing business for current and future sustainability issues. GIBS runs several initiatives in this context, including academic programmes, participation in international initiatives (e.g. GIBS is a member of The Academy of Business in Society), corporate social responsibility and investment activities, campus greening initiatives and diverse stakeholder dialogue programmes.
We aim to follow and to promote good sustainability practice, to reduce the environmental impacts of all our activities, to improve the community in which we operate and to help our students, clients, suppliers and partners to do the same. GIBS’ sustainability policy is to integrate environmental and social performance with the organisation’s core business. Various initiatives in sustainable development are pursued at GIBS, including:
The Transnet Programme in Sustainable Development:
This is an academic programme funded by Transnet to to drive sustainability initiatives into GIBS activities through teaching and research (externally) and in its campus processes (internally). The programme includes the following:
- A core MBA module entitled ‘Macro-environment of Business’
- An MBA elective module entitled ‘Sustainability and the Environment’
- MBA and doctoral research
- Executive education courses
- Company specific programmes
- Forums, seminars, workshops and conferences
- iGIBS business knowledge portal for sustainability issues on GIBS website
In addition to the academic initiatives, the TPSD also promotes sustainability projects within GIBS, including an annual sustainability report, greening the campus through energy and water conservation, waste reduction through recycling, as well as community engagement initiatives, such as teacher development programmes, school feeding schemes, student CSR projects, and staff outreach projects.
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GIBS is committed to generating awareness around the concerns on climate change. Great emphasis is placed on implementing a carbon management strategy to reduce our carbon footprint.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) Emissions: GIBS produces an annual inventory based on all GHG emissions and has undertaken to accurately measure and track these.
Energy Conservation: GIBS has implemented smarter and more cost saving ways in which to ensure that activities on campus are conducted with efficient energy usage. These include, electricity access management, replacement of redundant high energy use equipment with low energy use equipment, staff education and behaviour change activities as well as identification of future projects to address energy saving.
Waste Management: GIBS, together with its waste management partners, aims to manage waste through a campus wide recycling regime. The following items are recycled, paper, glass, plastic and metal (cans). The next project will be an e-waste programme to ensure the responsible disposal of e-waste on the campus.
Awareness and education: GIBS participates in annual environmental awareness days like Earth Day (end of March) and World Environment Day (June), and constantly educates staff and students through marketing initiatives and educational drives to improve knowledge and accessibility to responsible environmental behaviour.
Spirit of the Youth Programme: This programme is a forum for 11th and 12th grade learners to critically discuss and engage in relevant issues so that they may define the country in which they wish to live. Students are selected from varying social, economic, geographic and educational experiences and each show distinguished leadership attributes in their community. The aim of the programme is to develop these learners and in turn impact on the communities that they represent. The programme is fully donor-funded and the core focus is the development of these young leaders.
Primary School Engagement Programme: GIBS understands that in order to continue to make a meaningful contribution to business education in South Africa, whilst also ensuring a sustainable stream of qualified and competent students for the business school, we need to invest in the development of basic education institutions. GIBS pursues this goal by investing in local primary school education, specifically schools in disadvantaged areas in Johannesburg, through educational and financial support. GIBS aims to assist these schools in becoming centres of academic excellence and will help ensure that the next generation of business people in South Africa, and similarly the next generation of GIBS graduates, have been given a world class academic foundation.
GIBS currently works with three schools
Gordon Primary School, Alexandra (involved since 2004) Emfundisweni Primary School, Alexandra (involved since 2010) Ekukhanyisweni School, Alexandra (involved since 2007)
GIBS focuses extensively on the following areas in these schools:
- Maths, Science and English subject improvement Development of management skills in these primary schools Infrastructure and facilities improvement and maintenance
- Environmental awareness and responsibility
- Nutritional supplementation (Feeding schemes, vegetable gardens)
Fulufhelo: GIBS supports the MBA alumni driven non-profit organisation, Fulufhelo, by directing all student-led CSR initiatives through the organisation to ensure sustainability of the NPO, good governance and relevant academic experiential learning to GIBS students participating in CSR projects. The GIBS sustainability manager is a member of the Fulufhelo management committee and GIBS works closely with the NPO to assist in fundraising, marketing and executing community projects.
Take A Child To Work Day: GIBS participates in the Take a Child To Work initiative. This event is aimed at giving high school learners an opportunity to be exposed to the world of work, and participate in job-shadowing and informal career workshops with GIBS staff members.
BizSchool: Bizschool is a non-governmental organisation which arose from a desire to facilitate the transition from school to work, and thereby assisting to address the problem of unemployment and the lack of basic business and financial skills in South Africa’s secondary school leavers.
BizSchool's mission is “To equip young people to enter the world of work with the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to excel and be fulfilled.” It was decided to start BizSchool beginning with a pilot programme in November/December 2008 for 2008 matriculants who attended the Bizschool December programme which consists of a weekend camp and 13 day programme.
The other programmes which Bizschool offer are:
- The four Alumni meetings which provide a platform for the alumni to meet with their Mentors.
- The Leadership course which offers training for prospective leaders who are the Bizschool alumni. They go through a selection process in order for them to be small group leaders during the December programme.
- The Bizschool Career programme which gives career guidance to grades 11 and 12 students using psychological testing and one on one feedback and personal coaching. Skills are taught to assist delegates in applying for tertiary study, bursaries and or employment.
All these programmes take place at GIBS whereby facilities are donated to Bizschool and meals are also served at a discounted price. GIBS staff volunteer in the various programmes by delivering the content in presentations.Some staff members volunteer as mentors and others provide monetary donations to Bizschool. For more information please go to http://www.bizschool.org.za/ of email firstname.lastname@example.org
Investment in skills development is key to GIBS delivering on its commitment to making a meaningful contribution to the transformation of South Africa and the business school’s commitment to supporting staff by enabling them to reach their full potential. The various skills development programmes run by GIBS include:
- Staff enrolment in relevant academic programmes at GIBS
- Staff participation in forum events, conferences, seminars and workshops held at GIBS
- Small business development and support initiatives for BBBEEE entrepreneurs
- Supervisor mentorship programme for outsourced employees, including cleaning and security staff
- IT training for previously disadvantaged staff, particularly those who do not have access to computers in their day-to-day jobs or are encountering computers for the first time at GIBS
- First aid and fire-fighting training for full-time staff and outsourced employees, including cleaning and security staff
Beatrice Xalisa Bursary Scheme: GIBS runs the annual Beatrice Xalisa Bursary Scheme which commemorates the life and contribution of Beatrice Xalisa who was employed as a receptionist at GIBS from its inception and who passed away unexpectedly in August 2006.
This Bursary is aimed at providing financial assistance for a child of a permanent GIBS employee whose household income does not exceed R220 000 per annum and whose child/legal guardian attends a state primary school. The value of the Bursary is R10 000.
Sponsorships and Donations
Employee donations: GIBS believes that what motivates an employee to join, engage, and stay with an organisation is not only the financial reward on offer but also the unique opportunities that come from being a member of that organisation, a level of synergy between individual and organisation in values, and opportunities for employees to enact their jobs in a way that is consistent with their personal values and ethics.
With this in mind, GIBS offers a Give as You Earn programme to its employees to encourage philanthropy and create synergy between the organisation’s values and the employee’s personal values and ethics.
GIBS matches every donation received from employees to their chosen charity organisations and NGO, as a show of commitment to the philanthropic causes that are important to employees.
Sponsorships: GIBS offers sponsorships in the form of classroom facilities and meeting spaces to various initiatives and NPOs, including the Tomorrow Trust, the Network Forum, the Lutheran Community and the SAPS.
Staff members at the Alexandra partner schools are also sponsored at forum events and conferences on the campus.
Outreach: GIBS also makes regular collections for outreach programmes, where both staff and students at GIBS are encouraged to donate items to various needy organizations. This encourages a sense of goodwill throughout the campus.
Health and wellness
GIBS invests extensively in staff health and wellness education, including an annual Discovery Vitality health week on campus, HIV/AIDS awareness days, breast cancer screening, nutritional lectures and even bi-annual on-site staff massages during high stress periods.
Many leadership and management programmes delivered by GIBS include a social relevance field trip. This visit is normally in the form of an immersion activity into the communities of Alexandra and Soweto townships, or the Johannesburg inner city, which provides delegates with a broad view of the diverse business activities taking place in Johannesburg. The purpose of this module is to inspire business managers to reflect on the cultural and business paradigms they hold onto.
For more information please contact
Senior Programme Manager
Transnet Programme in Sustainable Development
+27 11 771 4189
Senior Programme Coordinator
Transnet Programme in Sustainable Development
+27 11 771 4161