Rated last year by Newsweek magazine as the world's greenest carmaker, Toyota’s track record of environmental sustainability is without a doubt one of the best in the world. The company’s local commitment to the environment is reflected in the many green initiatives it is involved in across sectors. One of these is Esikhumulweni Cooperative Limited in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal.
In 2013, the two organisations signed a memorandum of understanding, which entails Toyota donating all its waste seat cover material to Esikhumulweni Cooperative Limited to be transformed into all kinds of wearable accessories. The partnership doesn’t only reflect the company's on-going commitment to green initiatives, but is also the pride of TSAM’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department.
Recently, TSAM and Esikhumulweni solidified their five-year partnership when Toyota’s CSR department presented all its female employees with handbags, manufactured by the cooperative, as part of its Women’s Day celebrations in August 2018.
Established in 2011, Esikhumulweni had initially operated from shipping containers before securing a dilapidated building that they turned into a fully functional structure for their business operations. Chairperson of the cooperative Sibongile Sibisi says: “We are filled with hope and pride for the future success of Esikhumulweni Cooperative Limited. Our mission is to work hard and grow from a small to medium enterprise.”
The partnership creates a good opportunity for Toyota to reduce its monthly landfill waste. General Manager of Corporate Affairs at TSAM, Jenny Mare, says Toyota is proud of the strides Esikhumulweni has made over the years. “Toyota’s green strategies are also well enshrined in the organisation’s Environmental Challenge 2050. We believe that donating our waste cover seat material to Esikhumulweni is a great recycling and social responsibility initiative.
“Esikhumulweni has been able manufacture and sell the bags made out of seat cover material to generate income for themselves, as well as create jobs and train people in the community.”
TSAM is entrenched in Toyota Motor Corporation’s global vision by enriching lives surrounding our community of practice. Toyota’s social programmes are designed to ensure that local communities are empowered and uplifted.