Madiba’s words will forever ring true - “The time is always right to do right”. His birthday, now celebrated as Nelson Mandela Day on the 18th of July, was met with great enthusiasm earlier this month as thousands participated in ’67 minutes of giving back’.
The Sustainable.co.za team had a great time cleaning up Zandvlei. We believe the value of giving back to the community or environment for one day should never be underestimated. Yet it should also encourage us to continually be on the lookout for opportunities to do good. According to the Nelson Mandela foundation
, ‘taking part (in Nelson Mandela Day) should widen possibilities for awareness, true engagement and longer-term solutions.”
We’ve been inspired to look at local companies and organizations who are leaders in making the world a better place:
Bigger than Me
Bigger Than Me
is a conceptual social enterprise, forming part of Black Mango
as their CSI division. They provide a marketing platform for brands and their audiences to connect through branded events, content marketing, social concepts, volunteering and cause based marketing. Their goal is for brands and their audience to partner together to make a lasting footprint in communities.
Speaking on how they achieve this, Greg Viljoen from Bigger than Me says “We feel that there are many great initiatives but to leverage critical mass it’s important to make the cause mechanic of getting people involved appealing, and entertainment through music and sport is perfect.”
Some of the initiatives
they are involved in include DJ’s for Bread
, Miles for Smiles
and Bridges for Music.
Faithful to Nature
Faithful to Nature
is an online health shop which provides an array of natural products which support a green lifestyle. Their product range includes organic food, natural cleaning products, essential oils, super foods and luxury organic beauty products. They were the first retailer in South Africa to procure all of their products according to strict ingredient criteria.
Speaking on how they are giving back, Robyn Smith owner at Faithful to Nature says “Retail may not seem like an obvious platform to give back to both the community and environment, but it is predominantly our consumerism that is driving destructive behaviour and we have so little choice when it comes to buying ethical products.”
She says “we give every customer the opportunity to make their purchases more carbon neutral or socially friendly by donating to Food & Trees for Africa or the Starfish Foundation upon checkout.
We have also created a pocket guide to safe shopping that lists common contentious ingredients found in cosmetic and cleaning products which we give out for free. We want to give fellow South Africans the opportunity to buy products that are ethically produced and do not harm them.”
We asked her how the public or businesses can support their initiatives to which she answered:
“Please become an ingredient detective. Don't buy blindly. Check what is in the products you use and ingest and if you are not happy let the manufacturers know! Support ethical farming and local business. Encourage the companies you work for or run to give their staff the opportunity to use natural and or organic products that don't harm them or the Earth. It comes down to making a personal commitment to really care about the world that you live in.”
s are Cape Town based sandal manufacturers who describe themselves as “eco-seekers striving to create stylish, beautiful products that contribute to the preservation of our environment and to the upliftment of our society.” The team consists of a group of students from the University of Cape Town. They came together during their Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship at the beginning of 2014 and through a through a brainstorming session, Sols was born.
Their sandals are hand crafted from re-used tyres, high-quality hemp and cork.
Besides wanting to create a market of conscious consumers that gives back the environment, the company also aims to work in collaboration with communities to provide skills and jobs to the unemployed.
“From how we manufacture of sandals to how we distribute them, we aim to follow through in keeping our environmental and carbon footprint low and our social contribution high” said Courtney Oliver from the Sols team. “Our manufacturer, Wesley Banda, up-skills underprivileged individuals by teaching them the craft of making sandals from re-used tyre.”
The team is also currently setting up social platforms and systems to collect old clothes, shoes, and other forms of physical support through shoe bins on UCT’s campus.
Answering why she feels it’s important to be involved in initiatives that give back, she said: “We as a team have realised each person is able to contribute in a large way and make a difference to someone else's life! Once individuals pool resources and drive as a body, the level of possibility to change lives and mind-sets are unbelievable.”
Ever wanted to help but no idea where to start? Greater Good South Africa
brings good causes and givers together online.
According to their website they “believe in results-driven giving” and “seek out opportunities that will have a measurable, life-changing impact on people and their communities.” Their aim is “to level the playing field by giving small, pioneering non profit organisations the same access to funds and capacity development as the better-known causes.”
If you have a cause you would like to register or would love to contribute to a worthy cause, simply register on their site
is a voice of encouragement to every South African that they can make a positive difference. The Primedia Broadcasting initiative is supported by Independent Newspapers and is passionate about empowering individuals to take actionable steps to lead the country forward.
Their key areas of focus include personal challenge, leadership, education, Square Kilometer Array (SKA) and sport.
Their website serves as a great resource for inspirational stories
, updates on life-changing projects
, links to organisations who are making a difference
and an overview of current South Africans worthwhile following
Soil for Life
Soil for Life
is a Cape Town based non-profit organisation empowering people to build their own sustainable vegetable gardens in whatever space they have available. Their organic gardens are built using low-cost, soil building, water-wise, and environmentally friendly technology.
This is practically achieved by running hands-on training courses in townships and by providing ongoing support. By educating people on how to build the soil and grow healthy plants, they are making it possible for families have a secure provision of healthy food. Furthermore, Soil for Life encourages the gardeners to consider selling their produce and teaches skills on setting up local markets and running small businesses.
The team at Sustainable.co.za
are passionate about changing the world we live in for the better. We do this by:
- Offering quality products at affordable rates – we strive to offer a turnkey solution from consultation and design, through energy efficiency, green products and renewable energy solutions.
- Getting involved in local events and by supporting local communities and businesses.
- Practising what we preach – we are based in a green building, most of our paperwork is digital and we use recycled paper.
- We have made a number of donations to people in need.
- We support green initiatives by raising awareness.
We also have an exciting new project in the pipeline which will allow us to give back in a much more substantial way – more coming up on that!
We all have the power to give back. One way to start giving back is to consider how you can tread lightly on the environment. Why not get in touch with us
for practical tips and products on how you can do this?
*Cover Image: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com