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As our group begins to grow across the continent, we’ve embarked on a journey to become more conscious about the impact our business has on the environment. As the fastest-growing hospitality group in Africa, we pride ourselves in taking leadership in sustainable business practice that preserves our environment and resources for future generations while improving our cost basis and adding value for our shareholders through an improved triple bottom line.
Starting from a challenging economic base in Zimbabwe, where the primary concern was remaining profitable in a hyperinflationary economy, most businesses were not too concerned with the environmental impact of their operations. In addition there was very little incentive from shareholders to deliver on sustainability elements. With the increased availability of environmental technology such as solar water geysers and better access to finance for long-term investments in improved environmental performance, we have adopted an approach across the group which we feel is not only realistic and achievable but directly feeds into our bottom line. For example, we have now started to draft a group environmental policy which includes items such as energy saving targets, waste and water management, energy efficient designs for new buildings, alternative energy uses and emission reduction projects.
Our decision to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has also been a driver to re-examine our environmental policies. The JSE launched its Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index in May 2004 and to date 60 of the JSE’s top 100 companies comply with the index’s guidelines.
The message we want to take across the continent to other African businesses is that there are many benefits that can be reaped by being responsible. Our commitment is to backing up the actions that have been taken.