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At Siemens, we believe that companies can only truly succeed if they help to fulfil the needs of the society they operate in. Besides helping to drive a country’s economic growth, businesses should add lasting value to communities.
Business to Society
South Africa is a country actively recovering from injustice, inequality and uneven development, with huge growth potential. There is an urgent need to develop new infrastructure, to create industrial opportunities and employment and tackle an endemic of poverty and inequality.
We began by taking a close look at what matters most to South Africa, rather than viewing the country from the perspective of Siemens and its own operations, we looked inward at Siemens from the perspective of South Africa and its particular social, economic and political circumstances. To identify and measure our contribution to the things that matter to South Africa, we examined the government’s priorities for the country’s development – based on published goals and the National Development Plan.
Through our external research and analysis, we can identify six key pillars that set the focus of our impact assessment and provide the framework to measure Siemens’ contribution to South Africa:
South Africa aims to develop an economy which provides security, fulfilment and a better quality of life to its people. There are 23 million people living in poverty –amounting to about 45% of the population. Government aims to grow the economy to 2.7 times its current state of R3.8tn and to expand sectors such as mining, manufacturing, automotive and transport, which between them account for around 25% of GDP.
The creation of jobs and skills is an imperative in a country with five million people unemployed. The skills shortage in South Africa limits growth, with nearly half a million private sector posts unfilled. The National Development Plan aims to create 11 million new jobs by 2030.
South Africa needs innovation that supports the growth of its economy. It is innovation which will help to overcome the power crisis, increase the supply of renewable energy, and make industry more globally competitive through automation and digitalization. Innovation also creates more skilled jobs and stimulates the growth of small businesses.
South Africa encourages environmental responsibility. It currently has the highest CO2 emissions in the world, due largely to dependence on coal for power generation, but aims to reduce emissions by 34% by 2020. Water is a scarce resource in South Africa, the 30th driest country on earth. Each year, it generates 60 million tons of general waste, of which about 90% ends up in landfill.
Healthy and fulfilled people are able to build healthy and equitable societies. More than 10% of the SA population is plagued by HIV/AIDS and related diseases. The total life expectancy is 58.3 years. The South African health system is ranked by the World Health Organisation as 175th out of 191 countries. Education is recognised as being critical to South Africa’s success and ranks at 146th out of 148 countries in education quality providing room for improvement in this sector.
South Africa is being rebuilt out of the apartheid legacy, and empowerment of the previously disadvantaged is essential to foster a more inclusive society. This requires a massive long-term commitment by business to support transformation through Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE), clean and ethical business practices and support for small and medium size enterprises businesses.
Siemens Value Map
Having analysed the key priorities, we went on to measure how Siemens contributes to sustainable development in this country. Our value map presents an overview of our impact across various industries and socio-economic issues.
With the “Siemens – Business to Society” methodology we identify and measure our contribution to the things that really matter to a country, like economic growth, job creation and skills, infrastructure and industry, the environment, quality of life and socio-economic development. This is based on stakeholder input, published goals and the national development plans of countries when available.
Global consulting firms and agencies are used when required to provide external expertise and independent support to assess our impact. When assessing our contribution in specific industries we measure only where Siemens technology plays a fundamental role in a sector or is a critical part of a business or industrial process.
Companies often try to gloss over the negative. At Siemens, we are committed to understanding it and dealing with it. The B2S analysis enables us to identify areas where we need to improve and provides insights to understand how we can perform better.
Learn more about our worldwide efforts to pursue the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to generate lasting value for societies and make real what matters.