During this period, we continued to invest in, amongst other initiatives, the Game amaLunchbox project. A further 12 mobile kitchens were supplied to schools situated in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, bringing the total number of kitchens installed since inception to 313. We estimate that our mobile kitchens enable the safe and hygienic preparation of approximately 44 million Department of Basic Education supplied meals a year.
Succeed is Makro and Hope worldwide South Africa’s early childhood development programme, focused on upskilling ECD practitioners and improving foundation phase education programmes in under-served communities. Makro and Hope worldwide enrolled a further 25 ECD centres and established an additional 21 parent groups in 2017. Annually 170 centres supporting 4,000 learners benefit from this project.
Builders Warehouse, through their ‘Let’s Play’ partnership with Supersport, continued with the construction of specialised multi-sport school sports facilities. Since starting the project in 2015, Builders Warehouse has successfully completed seven school sports facilities that cater for soccer, netball, hockey and basketball. During 2017, Builders Warehouse completed two facilities: one at Tekwane Primary School in Nelspruit and, following the fires that devastated many homes and schools in the area, one at Fraaisig Primary School in Knysna.
We also, in collaboration with FoodBank SA and Gift of the Givers, donated 250 tonnes of food to vulnerable communities.
In support of constitutional rights advocacy and the valuable role social justice organisations play in our society, we continued our support of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) and Section27 by providing a further R1.5 million in funding.
This improvement, which corresponds to an increase in claimable procurement recognition from 10% to 50%, was largely due to a 3.02 point improvement in preferential procurement and a score of 27.40 for Supplier and Enterprise Development, the highest amongst listed retailers. As part of this, Massmart procured a total of R8.6 billion from majority (51%) black-owned suppliers. With R3.0 billion from over 30% black women-owned suppliers.
Our immediate objective is to achieve a level 6 contributor status and an overall BBBEE score above 70 in the verification scheduled to take place in April 2018. As it stands, and on the basis that we maintain our current level of performance, we believe that we are well positioned to achieve this. The realisation of this objective will not mark the end of our efforts as we remain focused on identifying and exploring opportunities to further improve our BBBEE contribution status.
The work of the SDP typically involves assisting suppliers to meet regulatory standards, improve price competitiveness, build manufacturing capacity and develop retail and business management expertise. The programme currently has a portfolio of 33 small businesses manufacturing a variety of products ranging from chefwear, cooking gel and instant noodles to bath tubs, adhesives, cooler-boxes and paint.
Of the 33 suppliers enrolled in the programme, 13 provide Private Label products; eight are import substitution projects and six export products to countries such as Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Chile.
We have seen encouraging sales traction through the programme, with total procurement surpassing R200 million in 2017, as compared with R149 million in 2016. Key SDP highlights in 2017 included: Makro transitioning their entire chefwear range from an international supplier to Reapso SA, a 100% black woman-owned company based in Selby; and Ikusasa Green, a majority black-owned supplier based in the Eastern Cape achieving a 330% increase in product sales under our popular Camp Master Private Label brand.
Through our work, we encounter a variety of people and organisations with whom we discuss a wide range of topics. To ensure that we are identifying the most relevant social issues we employ the following approach:
In 2017, we undertook a detailed analysis of environmental issues cited in mainstream media. In total, over 22,000 environment-related key words were cited in the media over a 12-month period ending in June 2017. Of these, 73% of the mentions related to water and water scarcity, 10% involved conservation and biodiversity loss and 6.8% concerned climate and climate change. Not only did this research assist us with evaluating the relevance of our existing accountability priorities, but it also helped us better understand emerging environmental issues around which we need to develop perspectives. Our objective in 2018 is to conduct a similar exercise for social sustainability issues.