One of South Africa’s top premium tyre manufacturers becomes the first in the industry to receive a certified Level 3 B-BBEE certification
JOHANNESBURG, 29 April 2021 – Enduring commitment to transformation by top leadership has enabled Bridgestone Southern Africa (BSAF) to deliver an industry leading level 3 broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) certification. Coming from level 4 in 2019, having been at level 7 previously, the latest certification was achieved despite the concurrent effects of stiff competition, the Covid-19 pandemic and an economy already in recession prior to the first lockdowns.
“We are incredibly proud to be the only tyre manufacturer to reach this level of transformation,” says BSAF Chief People Officer Julia Modise. “Most critically, this new level of transformation in our organisation, supply chain and the community, means that customers who procure from BSAF will receive the benefit of working with an organisation that puts transformation at its core, as well as 110% in their procurement spend recognition according to the B-BBEE Code of Good Practice.” The company began its B-BBEE planning in early May 2020 with an initial process reviewing its current level of compliance. The team conducted a mock audit and realised that a more comprehensive plan was needed to retain Level 4, with a dedicated owner of each transformation pillar.
The management team determined to meet each month to track progress against the plan, with actions determined to address any issues that may have arisen. As the work progressed, an experienced assessor was appointed in December 2020 to facilitate the painstaking process of collecting and allocating evidence to be recorded under the relevant pillars. “Each element, including ownership, employment equity, management control, enterprise and supplier development, skills development, and socio-economic development, would be under the responsibility of a different member of the executive leadership team, including the CEO and the chief financial officer,” Modise says.
With all the pieces in place, the final audit was conducted in February, showing improvements in ownership, management control and employment equity. The pillars of skills development, enterprise and supplier, as well as socio-economic development remained strong and stable. A highlight was the company’s participation in the Government’s Youth Employment Service (YES), which continued throughout 2020 and is continuing in 2021. A new contingent of 70 students is currently receiving much-needed experience across a variety of roles in a world -class manufacturing and commercial operation. Under the socio-economic pillar, BSAF rolled out its #PinkValveCaps Project in 2020 to raise and hand over R500 000 to PinkDrive, a public benefit organisation dedicated to fighting breast cancer. Supa Quick, a Bridgestone entity, partnered with Wheel Well, the non-profit organisation dedicated to road safety for children, to establish collection points where South Africans can drop off unused, unwanted, as well as new donated car seats.
“We were particularly pleased to be able to maintain our level of skills development in spite of the impact of the pandemic and the inability to do in-person training,” says Modise. “Our recruitment drive over the past year has yielded a much more diverse organisation, not just in terms of race and gender, but also in terms of sectors from which people have experience. “As a proudly South African manufacturer, transformation isn’t just a matter of compliance, but is critical to investing in the community in which we operate and create jobs. The work we are now planning for the medium-term will grow our ability to make an impact in our supply chain, particularly in our core business functions,” Modise adds.