After a Level 4 score in 2020, SA’s largest Coca-Cola bottler catapults to the pinnacle of B-BBEE achievement
Following a five-year journey of transformation, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has now reached the coveted status of being a Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) contributor.
This is an especially significant milestone, as the company had achieved a Level 4 accreditation in 2020 and targeted a Level 2 for this year.
“This was in line with our commitment to being one of the transformed and demographically representative companies in South Africa by 2022,” says CCBSA Managing Director, Velaphi Ratshefola. “We achieved this result a year in advance, and this is a testament to the vision of leadership and the commitment of all employees.”
The company’s achievements to date include:
- Ownership: Black shareholding has increased to 20%, of which all employees own 15.5% and have been enjoying benefits from the onset.
- Management control: Over 60% of top management are black and 30% are black women. CCBSA has also made significant strides in increasing the representation of women in senior management.
- Skills development: Targeted and timely training of all employees in line with the country’s demographics to ensure that people are trained and developed for future advancement.
- Preferential procurement: The company ensured that it increasingly procures goods and services from previously disadvantaged black and black female-owned businesses.
- Enterprise and supplier development: Deliberate plans to include small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) in the value chain were put in place by CCBSA to leverage its distribution network.
- Socio-economic development: The support provided by the business for community development is one of the areas the organisation focuses on to positively impact the lives of communities where it operates.
“These achievements in all the elements of the B-BBEE scorecard reflect our determination to achieve transformation that goes beyond the scorecard, but forms an integral part of our business strategy,” Ratshefola says. “Despite the many challenges we faced, and still face, due to the prevailing trading environment, we have shown that we can achieve anything with the right mindset, commitment, and passion.”
Since inception in May 2016, CCBSA took a bold step to become an impactful corporate citizen and contribute to the country’s socio-economic development agenda of creating an inclusive society that benefits all South Africans, particularly those most in need and previously marginalised from mainstream economy.
The bottler’s ambitious goals have been underpinned by a well-crafted transformation strategy which sought to increase gender parity, ensure a diverse supply chain, increase black ownership of the business, and respond to the country’s economic agenda and sustainable development goals by investing in youth and women entrepreneurship.
Youth in the Transformation Journey
Operating directly in township communities around the country, CCBSA launched its Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) in 2017. To date, the programme has trained over 570 young entrepreneurs in various municipalities around the country, in the process, creating business opportunities for young entrepreneurs through the CCBSA Bizniz in a Box container shop initiative.
Transforming the Supply Chain
Also, in 2017 CCBSA launched its Supplier Development Conference, establishing a fund for small supplier development and procurement, running over five years.
The fund was formed to assist young, upcoming black entrepreneurs in the Coca-Cola value chain, including young women. Through this fund, the company has transformed the lives of approximately 805 black-owned suppliers, of whom more than half are black female owned suppliers.
This has contributed to the global Coca-Cola system’s 5by20® women empowerment programme, which showed that 2 million women in Africa have been equipped to succeed as entrepreneurs, while also helping to enhance the lives of communities.
“Procurement has been our strongest pillar within our transformation journey,” said Ratshefola, “While we have been able to achieve the maximum number of points in this pillar, far outperforming the areas due to our focused strategy, we are by no means limiting our contributions to our valuable supply chain.”
Among the conditions of the 2016 merger to form CCBSA, the company also agreed that it would establish a fund for enterprise development in its agricultural value chain and contribute R400m towards this fund.
In 2018, CCBSA established its Agricultural Development Fund, administered through the Mintirho Foundation, and made the first of five R80 million contributions which will go towards supporting black emerging farmers.
To date, the Mintirho Foundation has disbursed R246 million directly to 26 beneficiaries, helping to create 1145 jobs, 43% of which are for women and youth.
“Agriculture is yet another sector that contributes critical raw materials, and it only made sense to invest in the sector while developing young, black farmers,” Ratshefola says.
Change from Within
To uplift women within its ranks, CCBSA launched Women@CCBSA in 2018, a women-led network which creates a space for women to engage, coach and mentor each other and ensure they reach their full potential. The network has grown and provided a platform for experienced and successful female leaders to mentor and coach young women professionals.
So far, the various initiatives to enhance diversity have led to the company now having a 40.5% representation of women in senior management and 44% in the middle management and 33.2% in junior management, with this representation continuing to grow.
“Training has been extremely vital in ensuring that we elevate our people to leadership roles,” Ratshefola reflects. “While the pandemic has made things difficult by hindering our ability to implement in-person training, we worked hard to ensure that our people received the training relevant to their current and future roles.”
Employee Inclusion and Wealth Creation
In May 2020, CCBSA took the first major step to fulfil its promise to increase black ownership, launching the landmark Ikageng Employee Share Trust, which offers employees shares and direct economic participation in the business.
The deal benefits all South Africa-based employees currently employed at CCBSA, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and Appletiser, each employee receiving an equal allocation of shares through the established Ikageng Trust, regardless of employee level, race, or years of service.
“We have done some exceptional work in the ownership space with Ikageng,” Ratshefola says. “This was a highlight for us as we were making our employees direct owners in our business.”
Ratshefola says while the business celebrates this milestone, as far as compliance goes, it remains committed to the ideal of continuous, meaningful transformation.
“We continue to drive our business through innovation to grow sustainably into the future while influencing the company’s long-term vision,” he adds. “As we plan for 2022 and beyond, we will apply the key learnings and continue to execute our transformation agenda, because the path continues and does not get easier, especially when you reach the top.”