The world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. AECI acknowledges that as a responsible corporate citizen, it has a role to play in alleviating the effects of this pandemic. Furthermore, its greater commitment to sustainability has seen the Company place societal purpose at the very core of its business. In terms of socio-economic development, this means investing in effective community-focused organisations and initiatives which develop and uplift vulnerable communities neighboring the AECI Group’s operations and those of its customers.
Since March 2020, R24.8 million has been invested in making a difference in the lives of communities in need..
Support has been in the form of ventilation devices for under-resourced healthcare facilities, hand washing stations and access to reliable supplies of clean drinking water to improve hygiene and sanitation. Food hampers and products and assistance to establish food gardens have also been forthcoming, as has the provision of winter clothing.
Food insecurity is a reality in South Africa and COVID-19 has brought the challenge into much sharper focus. for the most vulnerable people across the country. To assist in this regard, AECI established iPledge – an internal crowdfunding initiative which has raised more than R5,2 million to date. In partnership with several NGOs, the funding has enabled AECI to distribute over 6000 food hampers to families in 35 communities across the country.
Inadequate access to a reliable supply of potable water is also a reality for many in South Africa. Through its AECI Water business, the Group has made a meaningful difference in this regard. Just two examples where infrastructure and know-how have been provided are Goza Primary School in Soweto, Gauteng, and the Nxuba Local Municipality, Eastern Cape. Goza Primary has 1 450 learners and the reliability of water supply had been a challenge for a number of years. At Nxuba Local Municipality, existing challenges were exacerbated by the effects of drought conditions from 2018. AECI Water invested R2,1 million in boreholes, water treatment services and skills transfer, among others. In addition, other schools and clinics in host communities in five provinces received donations of hand washing stations to the value of R2,1 million.
“Our vision at AECI is to deliver sustainable solutions for a better world through innovation and excellence, founded on ‘good chemistry’,” said Mark Dytor, AECI Chief Executive. “This vision, our overall philosophy and practices are implicit in our values of being Engaged and Responsible corporate citizens, and in line with our growth strategy which is focused on doing Business with Purpose.
“When it comes to addressing pressing social needs such as food and water security, we have much to offer,” he added. “We recognise that to deliver growth and maximise resources for the benefit of all stakeholders in a sustainable way, a collaborative and integrated approach has great value. Our ‘good chemistry’ does not stop with our products and services but extends to our relationships with our stakeholders, including communities and regulators, to mutual benefit.”