How To Make Your African Business Eco-Friendly

Being eco-friendly is not only good for the planet – it can also save your business big money. Follow these ten easy steps by our expert to join the green revolution.

10. Be bright about light

You’ll be amazed by how many buildings leave their lights on all night, wasting an incredible amount of electricity. Make a habit of turning lights off when you leave a room, and only fit Energy Star-Rated lightbulbs and fixtures – say ‘bye-bye’ to incandescent bulbs!

9. Be the drivers of change

When driving, use your handbrake to stop on an incline; relying on clutch control is a waste of fuel. Carpooling is another great way of cutting your fuel costs drastically, and of course cycling to work is best of all!

8. Don’t go, use video!

The transport sector accounts for a massive 13 percent of South Africa’s carbon emissions. Play your part in lowering emissions by using video-conferencing and conference calls as an alternative to local and international travel.

7. Turn off electrical equipment

Many appliances, like computer screens and televisions, can be left in ‘standby’ mode and seem to be off, but are still drawing electricity. It is always best to turn appliances off completely, and don’t leave computers ‘sleeping’ overnight.

6. Print on both sides

By simply printing on both sides of the paper, a company can cut down its paper use by up to 50 percent. Go one step further by using paper with a high quantity of recycled content, or try not to print at all.

5. Choose suppliers who recycle

Empty printer cartridges, old computers and many other office appliances can be recycled or refurbished. So make it company policy to purchase office supplies and equipment from companies who take back and recycle products at the end of their life spans.

4. Cleaning should not cost the earth.

Make sure your office is cleaned using green products that are not full of toxic chemicals which damage precious ecosystems.

3. Install a solar geyser

South Africa has some of the best renewable energy sources in the world. Take advantage of them – and slash your monthly electricity bills – by installing a solar-powered geyser system. Also make sure your geysers are all well-insulated to better retain their heat.

2. Set a goal and stick to it

Give your office the challenge of reducing its electricity bill by 10 percent a month and come up with incentives for achieving the target each month. It will give co-workers a way to take ownership of the issue and create some good camaraderie, too.

1. Reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Recycling is definitely one of the easiest and most immediate ways a business can become a little greener. South Africa creates almost 67 million cubic meters of waste a year. Luckily between 50 and 80 percent is fully recyclable and many municipalities already have recycling programmes in place.

A good recycling programme starts with a little education: a short note to people on why recycling is important for the planet and what it involves.

Old habits are not easy to change, so the simpler your office recycling project is, the more likely it is to succeed. It is best to start out small, perhaps focusing on paper recycling initially, expanding the programme with time.

In the long-run, aim to create a recycling station in your office, with different bins for paper, plastics, organic waste, glass and tins. It also helps to have a number of paper-only bins littered around the building. Be sure to provide regular updates on how the project is running; they will keep people motivated and interested in how the programme is progressing.

Top 10 Best Companies To Work For in South Africa

The Corporate Research Foundation (CRF) Institute comprehensively reviews pay and benefits, training and development, career opportunities, working conditions and company culture. ABR has selected just 10 of the 57 South African companies that made the grade as a BEST Employer™ for 2010-2011.

10. Cell C

South Africa’s third cellular provider is also the smallest in terms of workforce. However, this can act in its favour says the CRF Institute because it can act swiftly. “It also enjoys excellent relationships with stakeholders, while its flat structure adds to its nimble approach,” it said.

9. Coca-Cola South Africa

It could be easy to assume the world’s largest beverage company may treat their staff more like numbers than people – but this is far from the case. Black economic empowerment (BEE) is a priority for the company, extending to bottlers as well as initiative es in the local community.

8. Group Five Construction (Pty) Ltd

One of South Africa’s most established construction and engineering companies, Group Five has Level 3 accreditation for BEE. Built on proud traditions dating back to its early days in 1974, it has a strong diversification strategy, supported by its commitment to its shareholders, customers, employees and communities.

7. Nestlé (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd

One of the most famous brands on the globe, the CRF Institute said Nestlé’s presence in South Africa is underlined by trust, quality, honesty and diversity.“This is an informal environment based on our values of openness, trust and transparency,” says David Moloto, Training and Development Manager.

6. MTN South Africa

Recently named Africa’s biggest brand, MTNuses a proactive model to identify high performers within the company, called ‘Leadership Talent Management’ to ensure achievement is recognised. It also offers MyMTN Emergency – home medical and roadside emergency assistance for workers.

5. SAS Institute (Pty) Ltd

The business software giants have a worldwide reputation for being great employers, with SAS International having recently been named the number one company in the US for Fortune’s 100 best Companies To Work For list for the second year running. Each individual employee has a Bonus Plan that recognises both performance and achievement.

4. JSE Ltd

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange was launched in 1887 and has since became the most respected market on the continent. According to the CRF Institution, “JSE’s greatest asset is its enthusiastic, passionate team; people who are inspired by an exciting workplace characterised by constant change, and who are forever looking forward to the next big development.”

3. South African National Roads Agency Ltd

The South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) is a government formed company and is wholly owned by the Department of Transport. It has a distinct mandate to finance, improve, manage and maintain the national road network. Due to this, it does not have an official BEE rating however a recent exercise carried out in the company suggests they would achieve the second highest rating and be a Level 2 contributor.

2. Vodacom Group Ltd

Having undergone a massive re-branding exercise to change company colours from blue to red (that of parent company, Vodafone), Vodacom has been in the spotlight this month. The leading telecommunications provider in South Africa has a corporate wellness programme that includes an Employee Assistance Programme, HIV and Executive Health Management Programmes.

1. Unilever South Africa (Pty) Ltd

The South African subsidiary of the UK-Dutch fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) giant has never been short of success. It is currently the leader in seven of the nine categories in which it operates and is renowned for its training and skills development.

The company has adopted a graduate programme to ensure talented employees are carefully nurtured. Up to 60 top graduates in key areas are employed each year including IT, marketing and human resources.

Unilever SA also places a great deal of emphasis on performance based bonuses that are paid annually and payout cash prizes known as Oscars that reward exceptional competency and delivery.

“People are our greatest asset,” says Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gail Klintworth – and this statement is backed up by the 24-hour Vitality Assist funded by the company. The helpline enables staff and their families with counselling, financial assistance and legal advice.

Top 10 African Business Schools

African Business Schools aim to help their students excel in management and business education in Africa. In fact, these business schools now play a very important role in the country by preparing their students for development in the private sectors early on.


1. University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business was voted Best Business School in Africa for a third consecutive year in November 2010 at the Eduniversal Global Convention in Prague, Czech Republic.

The UCT GSB offers one of the most innovative Executive MBA courses in the world andis probably the only African business school that still has a very clear set of values that encapsulate the school’s dreams and commitments. Not only does UCT GSB encourage a passion of learning, but it also encourages a spirit of inquiry and creativity. It also supports and takes great pride in all of its students.

The full-time programme or part-time/modular MBA or the Executive MBA all provide a strong emphasis on personal development and growth, understanding business and leadership in emergent markets and the challenges of transforming organisations to armour students with the key skills needed for elite management jobs.

2. The American University in Cairo

The American University in Cairo’s Business School prides itself on going further than academia, allowing students to broaden their horizons and make the most of their university experience. The AUC School of Business says it has identified three pillars; entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership in the way business programmes are developed, improved and delivered.

3. Strathmore Business School

StrathmoreBusiness Schoolinfluences leadership in the country’s private and public sectors and focuses on giving service to the society. SBS has already significantly developed their leadership and International business management programms with hopes of bringing about more transformative business leaders in the country. This passion for excellence is what makes the school excel in the country and beyond.

4. The University of Nairobi

The University of Nairobi is considered the pioneer institution of African University education. In fact, it was the only higher learning institution in Kenya for a very long time. Established in 1964, its Business School is split into three departments, Finance and Accounting, Business Administration and Management Science.

6. The United States International University

The US International University is actually the oldest private university on Eastern Africa and is based in Nairobi. It provides broad-based and top quality education, which prepares its students for professional schools and beyond. In general, their curriculum helps their students accomplish high levels in their fields of choice and promotes multiculturalism and global understanding overall.

5. The University of Dar es Salaam

The University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS) is one of the leading institutions in business and management research, teaching and consultancy in the sub-Saharan region. It also houses an Entrepreneurship Centre, Institute of Insurance and Risk Management, and the Career Advice Placement and Practical Training Bureau.

6. The Management College of Southern Africa

MANCOSA was established back in 1995. Initially, it was a post-apartheid empowerment school that provided accessible and affordable business management education to people who were denied access to it. To date, it is still the only business school in Africa that is known to have 100 percent black ownership.


UNISA is the leading distance learning business school in Africa to date and is known to churn out tomorrow’s inspiring leaders. UNISA motivates the future generation and provides qualifications that are accredited internationally, as well as world-class resources. It has also formed a lot of global partnerships with hopes of achieving the dreams of the African people.

8. The American University in Cairo

The American University in Cairo’s Business School prides itself on going further than academia, allowing students to broaden their horizons and make the most of their university experience. The AUC School of Business says it has identified three pillars; entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership in the way business programmes are developed, improved and delivered.

9. Universityof Stellenbosch

The university’s itself is considered to be a centre of hope for the country. In fact, its academic framework is built entirely on the Pedagogy of Hope. The Businessw School places a great deal of emphasis on leadership development and provides its students with global qualifications that can serve them greatly all over the world.

10. Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)

The University of Pretoria’s GIBS is an ambitious African business school that hopes to be a school from and for the entire business community in the country. As such, it has already made a huge impact in the lives of its students and their careers, proving to be a true place of inspiration, hope, hard work and insight in Africa.

Guest Post by Allice Lane who writes on behalf of w3Toledo, a web design and Toledo SEO firm.

Top 10 Office Gadgets

The office is one place where gadgets have made considerable headway in the past decade, stress-balls, metronomes and Newton’s cradles were once standard, but such decorations have been replaced by tools that make working life more pleasurable, productive and personable. Here is ABR’s Top 10…


1. The Apple iPad

The iPad, in all its iterations is without question the most important office gadget of all time. The tablet computer packs all the power of a laptop device and all the portability of a mobile phone, bridging the gap between these two devices and offering a near-faultless solution where neither fully delivers.

The potentially endless supply of high quality third party applications means that new uses for the iPad can be found all the time, adding value as time goes on, ensuring it makes for a worthy investment. Not only does the iPad function impeccably, it also excels in form stakes, with a super-slim case and a beautiful, easy-to-use interface, making it simple enough to use for all team members.

Although a top office gadget – it is perhaps the iPad’s stunning functionality on-the-go that is one of its most desired attributes, meaning you can carry on working wherever you are.

2. Under-desk exercise bikes

One of the toughest personal challenges facing the modern office worker is keeping fit. Demanding jobs mean that long periods of sitting at the desk and convenient junk food both mean weight gain is difficult to avoid. Enter the under-desk peddle bike, discretely allowing execs to exert themselves while working on that urgent report!

3. Posture enhancing chairs

Keeping the pounds off isn’t the only concern of office workers; most desk chairs are poorly designed and uncomfortable, promoting poor posture. Special posture enhancing chairs have a back rest that ensure the spine maintains a neutral position, and don’t place undue stress on the muscles and bones of the mid-section.

4. Mug-warmers

Nothing kick-starts the morning like a piping hot mug of tea or coffee, perfect for getting the mind engaged and the colleagues on-side. Nothing is more annoying than a stone cold brew however, left to cool when you’re whisked off to an unexpected meeting. Eliminate this risk with a special mug-warmer that will insulate your brew, so it’s still drinkable when you return!

5. Parker Pen

With all the ultra-high tech gadgetry on display in today’s modern office, it may seem churlish to talk about pens. The fact remains however that a good office worker needs a good pen, and Parker produce some of the finest in the world. Invest in a top quality fountain pen and ditch the tens of flimsy, unreliable biros taking up all your draw space.

6. Dropbox membership

This might be an intangible gadget, but it is untouchable for more than one reason. For a small monthly fee you can have access to unlimited cloud storage space for all your documents, files and media artifacts. This totally eliminates the need to carry around external storage devices, since you can access all your files from any internet-enabled device.

7. Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones

Sometimes you just need to be in the zone, whether it’s finishing that report or putting the final touches to a PowerPoint presentation, certain music has been proven to help us work more efficiently. Listen to your favourite tunes through crystal clear Beats headphones.

8. Apple iPhone

Although its younger sibling swipes the number one spot in the list, an iPhone is also undeniably an essential piece of office kit, such a portable piece of hardware that offers so much functionality – and I’m talking about things like notepads, calendars and the ability to view emails – can’t conceivably missed out.

9. Energy saving desk lamp

Weather like it or not, being climate aware is the new ‘cool’ in the workplace and investing in one of the growing breed of energy saving desk lamps boost your green credentials while at the same time illuminating your work space with a warm glow.

10. Mini whiteboard

Admit it, you’ve always wanted to play to role of teacher, scrawling your musings on a whiteboard in various different colours of permanent marker. Well now you can! It may not be particularly high tech, but a whiteboard can help you quickly record important points from phone conversations, to-do lists, and inspired ideas!

Joe is a travel blogger who often works with just the most basic of office equipment. He will be splashing out on a new laptop however when he takes his Dubai holidays.

African Business Review is now available on the iPad. Click here to download it.