Eugene Stoop, MD
Boxer Stores Ltd

KwaZulu Cash & Carry was established in April 1977, in the centre of Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The company commenced operations as a conventional wholesaler, trading in the essential commodities, such as maize meal, rice, samp, sugar, oil and beans. Read more...

Caring for the environment and creating jobs one bale at a time

[Durban, 18 July 2018] 

For just on a year now, Boxer’s ‘Abahlengi Bemvelo’ project, a Zulu phrase meaning ‘Rescuers of the Environment’, has encompassed and delivered on two of the most pressing imperatives currently facing businesses in South Africa – creating meaningful jobs through enterprise development, and environmental sustainability.

Receiving areas at Boxer stores have typically always been cleared of paper and plastic by local community members, who in agreement with the retailer have sold the materials for recycling in order to make a living. It was against this backdrop that Boxer identified an opportunity to optimise the waste collection process, while at the same time providing enterprise development opportunities for the people in the areas they serve.

This came in the form of the ‘Abahlengi Bemvelo’ project, which saw Boxer purchasing and installing waste balers to 20 Eastern Cape stores. Those who had always worked at clearing Boxer’s receiving areas were given first option to run these small businesses, collecting paper and plastic as they always had, and compressing them into 40 kg bales. The pilot was so successful that it was extended to the current total of 62 stores, with a view of bringing another 36 on board over the coming year. “By purchasing the machines we were able to create employment for a person in that area, allowing them to use the machine to earn some money through recycling,” explains Gary Larkan, Boxer’s Enterprise & Supplier Development Manager. “My hope in the long run is to have a machine at every store.”

The balers have currently been installed in branches served by Boxer’s two DCs (East London and Cato Ridge, KZN) allowing the bales to be collected and returned to the DC through reverse logistics following the delivery of goods to the store. A waste company then collects the bales from the DC and each ‘Rescuer of the Environment’ is paid directly by that waste company for the number of bales produced. “Ultimately, our main goal with this project is providing employment, but we’ve done this through leveraging an environmental problem and bringing in people who were already working with us,” explains Larkan. “The project also serves to create awareness within our stores, and amongst our staff, as well as with the people surrounding those stores about the importance of recycling.”

And the numbers speak for themselves. In 2017 the ‘Abahlengi Bemvelo’ project delivered the following results, with a view of doubling these figures for 2018:
• 1,100 tons of recyclable material collected
• 5.5 million kWh of energy saved
• 18,700 trees saved
• CO2 emissions reduced by 1.1 million tons 
• Water consumption reduced by 30 million litres
• 9,900m3 of landfill space saved

“Through our Abahlengi Bemvelo initiative we have been able to put essential focus on such areas as our war on waste through developing small suppliers”, concludes Boxer MD, Eugene Stoop. “It is not only the right thing to do for the country but it is also important to be able to contribute towards the overall [Pick n Pay] Group in what it reports to its shareholders.”

Media Contact: 
Prenella Govender
Tel: 031 275 7000