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Coega to establish unit to drive sustainable growth

Caleb Tayi

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) plans to establish a unit to drive sustainable growth of the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and external services on the infrastructure delivery programmes, which include operations in the rest of the African continent.

As a player with a global outlook, the CDC seeks to position itself in a manner that provides it with the agility to respond to the complex global challenges and opportunities as it evolves and sees sustainability as one of the key focus areas.

The CDC said it has noted that global factors force companies to act, retain, regain, or sustain their competitive advantages for long-term survival and the CDC is therefore embarking on this process.

“The newly established Sustainability Business Unit will focus on the organisation’s values and governance model and embrace the linkage between organisational strategy and its sustainability strategy.

“Moreover, the CDC’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) will be incorporated into corporate purpose, strategy, goals, and remuneration of employees in line with the King Report on Governance for South Africa, Principle 3,” CDC’s Executive Manager of Corporate Services Bonginkosi Mthembu said on Thursday.

The King Code for Responsible Investing in South Africa (CRISA) formally encourages institutional investors to integrate sustainability issues, such as ESG, into their investment decisions.

“As a result, the CDC takes the ESG very seriously as it has a significant impact on investor sentiments and on our ability to grow the number and value of investors in the Coega Special Economic Zone,” Mthembu said.

He said sustainability will continue to be key to the CDC’s business, and success in this area will enable the organisation to make a significant impact in the economy in line with its vision of being a leading catalyst for championing socio-economic development.

“Therefore, the CDC needs agility and a full grasp of today’s complex eco-system in which it operates.

“We appreciate that today’s businesses deal with complex challenges of social, environmental, market, and technological trends, which require sophisticated, sustainability-based management solutions that go beyond the single view of focusing on projects but on ensuring that sustainability is embedded in all elements of the value chain,” he said.

The CDC said the global sustainable development agenda embodied in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is affecting strategic decisions and operations of businesses around the world.

“These are complemented by the South African government’s response following the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change by the Minister of Environmental affairs in New York in 2016.

“The Presidency has setup a Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission (P4C) with effect from 17 December 2020, to coordinate and oversee the just transition towards a low-carbon, inclusive, climate change resilient economy and society working towards a net zero economy by 2050,” the CDC said.

Furthermore, the CDC noted that the Presidency has identified hyper-scaling of environmental, social, and governance investments to support social and green economy objectives as one of the five big frontier investments for South Africa.

“Therefore, as a company that is in a business of enabling investments, implementing infrastructure development solutions and facilitating integration with other African countries through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFTCTA), the CDC has to integrate in its approach and align to this agenda.

“Important to this alignment is the ability to anticipate and develop solutions that respond to the global environment and the evolving needs of its investors and clients while ensuring innovation and continuous improvement,” the CDC said.

The Chief Sustainability Offer responsible for corporate sustainability will be recruited soon to advance the CDC’s objectives on this task.

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