As businesses become more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.
In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Here are some examples from Australia, Malaysia and South Africa.
Nicola Pless, University of South Australia, Australia
Jurlique is an international luxury cosmetics company based in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. It has been pursuing an entirely sustainable production process based on biodynamic agriculture and an anthroposophic philosophy from its start. The company was founded by Ulrike Klein and her husband in the early eighties and is built on a vision to inspire people to well-being, through purity, integrity and care (for self, others, and the planet) – based on awareness and passion. 95% of their pure-plant based ingredients are grown on their certified biodynamic farms in the Adelaide Hills providing the basis for the purest and natural skin care.
Haigh’s chocolates was founded in May 1915 and is a boutique-style, high-end and iconic chocolate maker from Adelaide (SA) that grows sustainably with a vision to delight chocolate lovers around the world. Haigh’s is the only Australian bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer to have achieved UTZ certification, which stands for sustainable farming of coffee, cocoa and tea with better opportunities for farmers, their families and the planet.
Priya Sharma, Monash University Malaysia, Malaysia
Earth Heir is a social enterprise that begun with the desire to reduce the exploitation of craftspeople and help them prosper directly from their labour. Bringing humanity to business, Earth Heir helps vulnerable communities such as the Orang Asli (natives) sell their craft works fairly and ethically so that they may achieve sustainable livelihoods.
Biji-Biji Initiative is a pioneering social enterprise in Malaysia that champions sustainability. The organisation maintains a sharp focus on operational efficiency, people development, investment analysis, and building, partnerships across public, corporate and NGO sectors. They focuses on building valuable products from waste, such as bags from discarded seatbelts.
The Starfish Project the program focuses on reintegrating the destitute, homeless, urban poor and poor families by restoring their dignity and enhancing their self-esteem through jobs placements and finding a sense of purpose in life.
Willem Fourie, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Spier Wine Farm in South Africa is known for its exceptional work in this regard. They support local industry and communities and are FSSC 2200 certified. They also support a number of projects around wastewater treatment, the arts, social justice and natural heritage including the Tree-preneur project which encourages people in impoverished communities to grow trees in exchange for essential goods.
Massmart is a retail chain with over 412 stores across Africa. It’s Corporate Accountability proposition is to achieve commercial success by adopting a mass distribution business model that proactively incorporates the input of our stakeholders to effectively integrate commerciality and accountability. Their accountability initiatives are wide ranging and extend from integrating small holder farmers into our supply chain, rationalising private label product packaging and improving store energy efficiency to championing black economic empowerment and increasing employee access to affordable private healthcare benefits.