An investigation into the effectiveness of corporate sustainability programmes and initiatives in the agricultural sector : the case of British American Tobacco Zimbabwe

Nyanyirai, Stanley (2013-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In recent years, a great deal of attention has been paid towards the notion of corporate sustainability, which has variously been defined as meaning the incorporation of social, environmental, economic, and cultural concerns into corporate strategy and bottom line. The preliminary investigation suggests that Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) are mainly worried about securing permission for commencing operations and not about the wellbeing of locals and their livelihoods. Further to this, one of the main reasons why efforts aimed at improving sustainability are not yielding significant and lasting results, is that solution seekers in business, science, government and the research community are still operating in the same old paradigm of using basically the same tools and adopting the same world view that threaten sustainability in the first. The key and clear research objectives of this study are:- to ascertain if there is a link between British American Tobacco Zimbabwe (BATZ) top management philosophy, corporate strategy and the company`s corporate sustainability programmes, initiatives and other efforts, and the various stakeholders, and, if so, how these are communicated to them; to establish the degree of integrating sustainable development practice and initiatives into the BATZ business model in order to have long term benefits for both the company and its various stakeholders - these are an integral part of the socio-ecological system, and will help the business understand the resilience of the system and where in the system they should operate; to establish the depth, scope and culture of sustainability in terms of the extent to which they inserted inside (embedded) the BATZ operations; and to ascertain the level of economic, social and environmental effects of BATZ`s corporate sustainability programmes and initiatives in the locality in which it operates. The research used focus group and key informant discussions, one-on-one interviews, and to a limited extent a semi-structured research questionnaire. Information was also accessed from company internal information management portals, and BATZ’s group sustainability and other reports. The conclusion was that renewable energy programmes at BATZ were driven by energy insecurity and scarcity. Currently BATZ is not recycling water used in cigarette manufacturing operations, waste recycling of cut-rag tobacco has been occurring, and BATZ will continue to provide agronomic support to small scale farmers under its Social Responsibility in Tobacco Programmes (SRTP) towards leaf sustainability. The Rocket Barn concept is one of the most innovative intermediate technological breakthroughs meant for improving wood fuel efficiency in tobacco curing. Socially BATZ has done some good works in addressing some of society’s key challenges. There have been benefits for key corporate stakeholders in having BATZ operating in Zimbabwe. The research will assist BATZ to fully understand the socio-ecological system in which it operates; a fundamental understanding to improve corporate sustainability, which will then require a shift in sustainability-oriented efforts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die idee van korporatiewe volhoubaarheid het die afgelope klompie jare baie aandag geniet. Wyd gesien, kom definisies neer op die insluiting van maatskaplike, omgewings-, ekonomiese en kulturele ondernemings in basiese korporatiewe strategieë. Die voorlopige ondersoek stel voor dat MNK’s wel gemoeid is met die verkryging van toestemming om bedrywe te stig, maar nie juis die welsyn en dag-tot-dag-belange van die plaaslike gemeenskap op die hart dra nie. Volgens (Fiksel 2003) en Du Plessis (2008) is een van die hoofredes waarom pogings om volhoubaarheid te verbeter nog nie betekenisvolle en blywende resultate gelewer het nie, die feit dat die mense betrokke by sake-ondernemings, wetenskap, die regering en navorsing wat na oplossings soek, nog geen paradigmaskuif gemaak het wat hul denkpatrone betref nie. Hulle gebruik steeds dieselfde uitgediende gereedskap en huldig nog dieselfde wêreldsienings wat volhoubaarheid in die eerste plek bedreig het. (Fiksel, 2003, Du Plessis, 2008, Hayward et al 2010). Die doelwitte van die navorsing is: om uit te vind of daar ’n skakel is tussen die filosofie en korporatiewe strategie van BATZ-hoofbestuur en die maatskappy se volhoubaarheidsprogramme, inisiatiewe ens; om te bepaal in watter mate volhoubare ontwikkeling en volhoubaarheidspraktyke en inisiatiewe geïntegreer word in die BATZ-korporatiewe model, om impak vas te stel en die kultuur van volhoubaarheid binne BATZ-bedrywe te bepaal. Die navorsing het gebruik gemaak van fokusgroepe, van sleutelbesprekings deur ingeligte persone, een-tot-een-onderhoude en in enkele gevalle selfs van gestruktureerde vraelyste. Toegang tot inligting is ook verkry deur middel van ‘n maatskappy se interne inligtingsbestuursbronne, BAT-groep-volhoubaarheids- en ander verslae. Die gevolgtrekking is dat hernubare energieprogramme afgedwing is op Batz deur die onsekerheid oor en die gebrek aan energie. Tans word water wat in sigaretbedrywe gebruik word nie deur BATZ herwin nie, maar afval van “cut-rag” tabak word wel herwin, en BAT Zimbabwe sal voortgaan met agronomiese ondersteuning aan kleinskaalboere kragtens sy Maatskaplike Verantwoordelikheid t.o.v. Tabak Programme (MVTP) vir blaarvolhoubaarheid. Die “Rocket Barn-”konsep is een van die innoverendste intermediêre tegnologiese deurbrake om die effektiwiteit van houtbrandstof by die droogmaak van tabak te verbeter. Op maatskaplike vlak het BATZ Zimbabwe goeie werk gedoen deur enkele uitdagings van die gemeenskap die hoof te bied. Die feit dat BAT in Zimbabwe werksaam is, was tot voordeel van korporatiewe belangstellendes. Die navorsing sal BATZ help om die sosio-ekologiese stelsel waarvolgens dit bedryf word, ten volle te verstaan, en om korporatiewe volhoubaarheid te bevorder, wat dan ‘n kopskuif ten opsigte van volhoubaarheidsgeöriënteerde pogings sal vereis.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80349
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