Unilever Boksburg Factory to add more value to Ekurhuleni
The homecare and food manufacturing factory of the leading FMCG company , Unilever Boksburg Factory has a strategic intent that is aligned to the organisation’s Unilever Sustainability Living Plan (USLP) that intends to create a brighter future the East Rand Community and its employees through ‘My Boksburg 2018 vision’. The factory’s ‘My Boksburg 2018’ strategy has four key goals which are; to build a world class manufacturing plant, increase productivity, build the staff morale and create a brighter future for all.
The Boksburg factory has been in operation since 1955 with continued development and growth.
After introducing mass production to South Africa, the company continued to grow. “Post-World War Two, we embarked on a drive to modernise our factories, with a view to increasing capacity and create more jobs” confirms Kid Nkantsu, Sourcing Unit Director at the Unilever Boksburg Factory.
“The Boksburg factory invested R140 million in the expansion of four new packing lines for increased productivity and job creation”.
Since then, the company’s presence in the Greater East Rand area has offered great benefit to the local population, including outreach programmes, environmental protection efforts and a general desire to improve the lives of staff, consumers and stakeholders alike. “ We want to create a value-adding site not only for the organisation but for the wider community of Boksburg” added Nkantsu.
“This is achieved by connecting and partnering with the communities that we serve, through sustainable social upliftment programmes, while reducing our environmental impact,” said Nkantsu. “We also place emphasis on education, health and nutrition and developing entrepreneurs by, for example, supporting them in the establishment of their business.” The New Fast Kids Library offers educational opportunities, while the company supports soup kitchens and Shoes of Hope to aid in improving the health and nutrition of the community.
Some of the homecare brands in action as part of the Unilever Brighter Future campaign are OMO in Education and Domestos in Sanitation. The OMO Fast Kids campaign aims to promote child development that will significantly enhance the mathematic literacy of 200 000 users. The programme is powered by an interactive online platform, MathWizz for mobile phones, tablets devices and desktop browsers intended to expose seven year old learners to university entrance to the foundations of mathematic. These include number bonds, time tables and general arithmetic through the use of drills.
Poor sanitation facilities in disadvantaged communities and especially in schools across South Africa is a major contributing factor to absenteeism and school drop-out rates. Domestos is one of the homecare brands that addresses challenges of health and hygiene in South Africa through the ‘Cleaner Toilets, Brighter Future’ campaign where schools’ toilet blocks are refurbished for human dignity, health and hygiene of the learners.
A representative from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Romeo Moroke said “we are very excited about the My Boksburg 2018 vision and the great work Unilever is doing in the community. We hope to join forces with the company especially on issues of education, health and nutrition that set back the community for the development of our region”.
Unilever has actively been involved in support campaigns at various local schools and centres, such as; Ndlelenhle Primary School, Melodi Primary School, Kuzimisela Primary School and the Elethu Daveyton Cheshire Home for the Physically Disabled. Two new projects will be launched shortly, namely; Project Hope and Project Cleanse. The business also drives awareness of employment opportunities through its Career Days in order to attract young talent and believes in creating local employment opportunities.
“I came here two months ago and so much has changed in the site and appreciate the effort the company puts into the safety, health and security of its employees and surrounding stakeholders” , said Natasha Belhaj, Station Manager for Emergency Planning at the City of Ekurhuleni.
The Brighter Future approach has culminated to the establishment and extension of the Boksburg factory, Khanyisa which has significantly decreased carbon footprint; increased capacity and employment in the community.
Also based in Boksburg, the Khanyisa factory officially opened on 02 June and boasts the latest in green technologies, with zero non-hazardous waste going to landfills; creating a healthier environment for the Greater East Rand Environment.
The recently launched factory, Khanyisa manufactures liquids homecare and whilst the Boksburg factory has powders homecare in its manufacturing lines. Both factories in Boksburg currently employ a total of 623 employees.
“As the organisation improves in business, we want to change the plight of the Boksburg community for a sustainable living commonplace” concludes Nkantsu.
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