Investors are increasingly introducing broader considerations into their valuations and investment decisions. The market is interested in companies that not only generate positive financial returns but also have a positive environmental and social impact.
With an increasing focus on sustainable business practices it is imperative that Safari balances the need to generate returns for shareholders together with its wider obligations to the environment and society as a whole. Integrating these aspects across a business is crucial for the healthy growth of the company and for broad-based stakeholder value creation over the long term.
While Safari is a relatively small REIT in the market, we want to be more aware of these broader impacts, risks and opportunities in relation to our business activities. We want to improve our consideration of all three of the triple bottom line values of sustainability: Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”).
At Safari we are increasingly considering the impact of our assets on their environment. During the design and construction phases of projects we can carefully consider environmentally sensitive and eco-efficient design options. Safari takes great care in selecting materials and building techniques suitable for the environment by focussing on innovative design and finishes. Properties are designed to make optimal use of natural light and ventilation. Large roof areas of centres are ideal for solar power generation. To date, the centres in Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and Swakopmund have solar power systems, and the company continuously considers these systems for all future properties. Existing solar systems generate in total 1,7MVA of electricity.
Safari has always had an appreciation for and focus on emerging areas. In the property industry one has tremendous opportunity to engage with communities and to contribute to their welfare. Our centres not only create jobs but they provide a one-stop destination and business node for people not having to travel long distances from home for quality products and services. Leadership has a new fresh focus on corporate social responsibility and is considering a significant project in the form of an educational trust. We look forward to the launching of this initiative. It is only by bringing services and creating quality assets in all communities that South Africa will achieve economic empowerment within the context of a broader national empowerment strategy.