Boxer Ubuntu Projects
Caring for our Communities
“I am what I am because of who we all are.”
– Leymah Gbowee
Ubuntu is a reminder that we as human beings share a deep inter-connectedness and that we should aim to strive not for the betterment of ourselves, but for the betterment of us all. The Boxer Ubuntu Projects Programme aims at just that, to be the helping hand, the welcoming neighbour, the heart of the community.
In every neighbourhood, in every small town and big city, we connect and uplift one another through perceptions and acceptance of who we are. The deep power of Ubuntu, shown by those who care for others lifts us up as a country and allows us to all be stronger, more stable and gives those who need it most, a place to stand and face the future.
Ubuntu is a South African term originating within the Nguni people and refers to the quality that includes the essential human virtues of compassion and humanity. It can be understood as meaning ‘humanity to others.’ We called the initiative the ‘Ubuntu Projects’ to remind us all to show humanity to others through our projects. The Ubuntu Projects Programme is an important means for all at Boxer to stand as part of, rather than an addition to, a community. We are not a company; we are a community champion which puts each and every customer at the top of our list of priorities as we earn respect from the community through the manner in which we treat each individual, not only within our stores, but outside as well. The health, safety and well-being of every community member is and always will be a priority. We are able to show our appreciation for the support we are shown by giving back.
Every year, our Ubuntu Projects provide millions of rands of support and effort to individuals and non-profit organisations in our communities that need it most. Through dedication and respect for each customer, we enhance our relationship with each person, whether they shop with us daily or have yet to walk through our doors. We have a sincere desire to give back and to provide resources for the communities we serve so that all can live happy, healthy lives. Boxer is far greater than a low-price food and services discounter. We are a community champion entrusted with ensuring our community is able to develop and grow through investment. In addition to annual projects and initiatives, every Boxer branch supports a minimum of two non-profit organisations a month, on a consistent basis.
Education, whether at school level or through furthering skills within the workplace, is vital for the community in which Boxer serves. The various education initiatives successfully assist the youth and promote career defining paths through a series of opportunities including the Boxer Youth Leadership Programme through to the Boxer Training Department…
Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
They gather each year, hopeful young boys and girls from diverse backgrounds to learn a vital lesson: true education is not found in knowledge, but in the desire and pursuit of that knowledge.
This concept is key to the annual Boxer Youth Leadership Programme which has been in existence since 2002. The Programme is designed to provide disadvantaged youth with the same leadership training grounds available to learners from more fortunate homes. The five day adventure-filled Programme provides a platform for learners to challenge their limits, confront their fears and inspire a life-long confidence that will enable them to determine their own fate, no matter the obstacles they encounter. Mature, teenage boys and girls learn to trust, support and motivate each other as they navigate a series of unique challenges that includes abseiling and navigating a lazy river on their self-built rafts. You only need to listen to them share their experiences around the camp-fire each night to see how much they have learnt and the amount of pride they feel at their hard-won independence and confidence.
Each year, as participants graduate, they embrace each other with laughter and tears, no longer seeing their differences but their shared similarities.
Boxer’s commitment to uplifting learners from across South Africa and eSwatini through the Boxer Youth Leadership Programme has proven fruitful over the years. Many success stories of past attendees having achieved their dreams have made their way back to Boxer. Boxer is passionate about enhancing the value of education and strives to positively shape the minds of today’s young learners – our leaders of tomorrow.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
“Positively shaping the minds of today’s young learners and the leaders of tomorrow.”
Staff Training Development:
Boxer was one of the first retail businesses to embrace the formation of the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA) since its inception in the early 2000s. Since then Boxer has enjoyed a close and fruitful relationship with the W&RSETA over many different skills and development collaborations. At Boxer, our staff is important to us and we ensure they are equipped with the right skills to provide our customers with our best service. Boxer, therefore, has an invested interest in developing staff potential in partnership with the W&RSETA.
National Qualification programmes such as NQF 2, 4, 5 and 6, better known as the Retail & Management Development Programme as well as the International Leadership Development Programme or NQF 7, are offered to Boxer staff. Empowering our staff and furthering their knowledge – as well as receiving practical experiences within the stores. It has been extremely encouraging to see the huge number of graduates successfully complete the different programmes and forge defining career paths within Boxer. Boxer can proudly boast that we have thousands of graduates well-equipped and trained to serve our customers daily.
Boxer is extremely passionate and understands the importance of training and learnership programmes. For both staff and company evolvement it is critical for staff to be given the opportunity to better themselves and succeed in their retail careers. Ultimately the goal is to identify staff with potential and have them well-trained for suitable positions within Boxer. This benefit is right from top management positions that cascade to entry level positions. Happy staff equals happy customers.
Catering for Disabled Graduates:
Boxer’s dynamic Training Department is equipped to maximise the potential of all trainees. Those who have disabilities are catered for in the Training Programme. Boxer has, over the years, employed many disabled graduates from the Programme and continues to recognise and celebrate these many talented individuals who choose to study and work at Boxer.
Positioning Unemployed Graduates:
The Graduate Workplace Experience Programme offers a solution to the question of unemployment in South Africa by employing qualified but unemployed graduates within Boxer. This Programme gives graduates an opportunity to be part of one of the fastest growing supermarket retailers. It nurtures growth and skills development while helping previously unemployed graduates gain invaluable work experience. In addition to this, Boxer has a separate Graduate Placement Programme designed specifically for Operations.
Quality Council approved Training:
All training provided by the Training Department Programme requires approval from the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations board. This means that all training achieved through the Programme will have gone through the highest training authority in the country and those who have qualified will hold qualifications which are highly regarded across the country.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Boxer believes in giving back to our shoppers through a number of different initiatives. There are many big scale projects that gain media coverage, however, many are not aware that each Boxer store independently supports their respective community non-profit organisations every month. Food parcels, hardware equipment, educational supplies and many other forms of donations are continuously done.
Boxer staff form a close relationship with their local churches, schools, creches, children’s homes, disability centres, shelters and other non-profit organisations. And in a bid to alleviate poverty and abuse within the respective areas, Boxer invests in community development projects.
Boxer is aware of the various needs within the communities it trades in. The company believes that it is our responsibility to do as much as we can to help the very people who spend at Boxer’s tills – our community members! Helping our shoppers live a better life is important to Boxer because we care for our community.
Small Business Development
Boxer has a dedicated mandate to support, uplift and create opportunities for Small and Medium Businesses across Southern Africa through empowerment of local individuals and organisations. BBBEE remains a top priority along with the efforts to educate and assist the creation of suppliers that can contribute to the Boxer brand.
Sowing The Seeds of Growth
Assisting Subsistence Farmers:
Boxer has always been a firm believer in that the wealth of country’s future can be found in the sand and dirt of the tilled lands of small community farmers. A large percentage of both South Africa and eSwatini’s agriculturally viable farming land remains unused in part because of the little opportunity given to small-holder farmers in a market dominated by large scale agricultural goliaths.
Boxer strives to redress this by, where possible, purchasing fresh produce from small-holder farmers for resale in our stores. The fair prices offered to the suppliers and our customers, ensure that small-holder farmers are able to compete locally and plan for their own expansion and development.
By providing a place where small-holder farmers are able to sell their produce, Boxer encourages growth in the farming sector, aiding the boost in employment and providing stability in a very fragile, underutilised sector. Seeds, fertiliser and farming equipment are also regularly donated towards the sustainability of small-holder farming and other related organisations.
Boxer believes in offering opportunities to the various communities in which we trade and by aiding the development of small businesses, Boxer is able to do just that – and so much more.
Progressive Business Support:
Boxer has always been one with our various communities; therefore, fully embracing the BBBEE requirements set out by Government was not a difficult task but merely a continuation of the intertwined work we have been doing for decades. This is evident in the many enterprise development projects being done and supported by the Boxer Company throughout South Africa. We strive to support companies that are BBEEE certified. We invest time, skills and effort to those businesses and people who were previously disadvantaged to help grow their businesses and in doing so help grow South Africa.
Helping SMME’s Grow:
Boxer helps local small to medium enterprises within the various communities in which we trade, by providing a ready market for their products to be sold at reasonable prices. By doing this, Boxer creates entrepreneurship opportunities, job creation and improves the economic state of the towns and areas. Growing together with our local SMMEs is something of great importance to Boxer. We have a Boxer team dedicated to providing much needed financial and business advice to grow existing and new businesses in an effort to ensure that they become viable contenders within the retail market place.
By investing in small and emerging suppliers Boxer has managed to create long lasting partnerships with brands and businesses that contribute to the economy as their businesses grow. Boxer recognises that the development of businesses through support and growth, while these businesses are still at their beginning stages, sets the stage for long term growth and partnership which strengthens the economy as a whole. To add to this, a number of informative entrepreneurial presentations are held throughout the year allowing potential suppliers the opportunity to enhance their efforts and knowledge, ahead of their attempts to engage and form deals with Boxer
Growth Through Knowledge:
Boxer teams regularly attend workshops, seminars and expos where farmers, suppliers and new potential brand partners get a chance to discover the Boxer Brand and find out what it takes to get a product on the Boxer shelves. By interacting with suppliers in the areas where they work and create their products, Boxer is able to define and showcase the parameters required by SMMEs and farmers when it comes to supplying a supermarket.
Creating Employment Through Waste Management:
Through Boxer’s Abahlengi Bemvelo Project meaningful jobs have been created through enterprise development at store level. Formerly unemployed people are given consistent work and responsibilities and have the opportunity to earn a stable income while assisting in Boxer’s efforts to reduce and recycle waste.
Boxer recognises the passion and talent many small South African businesses put into creating and selling their products. A number of brands across South Africa have found their products on Boxer’s shelves as a result of meticulous planning to ensure that both customers and businesses benefit from these deals. From three man start up charcoal companies to a group of cabbage farmers – many companies have benefited from the Boxer belief that supporting development, of commercial ventures, leads to the economic success of a nation.
Boxer continuously partners with organisations which assist communities in the health arena. From the upgrading of Paediatric wards to providing smiles for children, the endeavour to assist and help the vulnerable is a pillar of the Boxer Ubuntu Projects.
Bringing Joy to Children:
The amount of children who are in need of free health care increases at a staggering rate. And with the tremendous financial strains that government hospitals and clinics find themselves under, it becomes difficult for them to meet the needs of the masses. Boxer noticed that many of those deprived of proper health care facilities made up a large number of our shopper population and made a conscious commitment to uplift the paediatric health care situation of our customers. Boxer has given back by revamping paediatric wards in a multitude of community hospitals. By working together with non-profit organisation, Crossroads, many paediatric wards in various hospitals have been completely transformed from a sterile environment to a happy, colourful place of recovery; a place where sick children can improve in a more attractive surrounding.
The brightly coloured painted walls, DVD and television sets, children’s movies, Disney character wall murals, blankets, toys and children’s furniture all aim to help these children during their healing process whilst alleviating the financial pressures felt by the hospital. In an effort to offer an element of happiness and to distract little patients from their health circumstances, Boxer staff members often visit their community hospitals and treat patients and nurses to delicious cakes and other refreshments.This is just another way that Boxer invests thousands in the lives of its community members by spreading joy and cheer.
Caring for the vulnerable:
In addition to the paediatric ward restorations, Boxer works with the Smile Foundation to restore smiles to children across South Africa.
The Smile Foundation provides life changing reconstructive surgery to children affected by facial abnormalities such as Cleft Lip and Palate, burns, Moebius Syndrome and other conditions. These children can receive special surgical treatment from world class doctors and specialists.
As Boxer has numerous store locations across the country, it provides communities with a central venue to sign up a loved one who can be referred to the Smile Foundation. Recently, in one year, the foundation assisted more than 291 children. The Smile Foundation also provides assistance to patients in need of transport for hospital visits, shares educational information and it also arranges psychological counselling before, during and after surgery if needed.
Police Service Assistance
Boxer admires and values the efforts the Police Service makes to serve and protect the communities and Boxer staff throughout Southern Africa. Boxer honours these brave men and women through a range of initiatives and assists the police by collaborating on projects which help the community.
Store visits to police stations:
Individual stores often visit police stations based near stores with gifts and hampers to thank the officers for their continued efforts to protect and serve the communities in which Boxer trades. Often a special visit is made by Store Managers to thank the Station Commanders for the efforts their members go to.
Valuing what our many police officers do to keep our stores, staff and customers safe every day, Boxer expresses our appreciation by offering a free cup of tea or coffee to all police officers on duty. This has been our way of building relationships and offering our gratitude to our community guardians and protectors over the years.
“…that we will always recognize what they do…”
We do this as a way of reminding police officers that their efforts are never overlooked by the business community and that we will always recognise what they do in bringing safety and security to our streets, homes and places of work. This is why seeing police officers exchanging a smile and friendly conversation with Boxer staff members, over a hot cup of tea or coffee, is not an uncommon sight within any of our stores. A simple act, yet it means so much to honour and appreciate those who put their lives on the line, to protect our own.
Bust of the Month:
Every month Boxer recognises the excellence and perseverance of our country’s police officers in the form of a prize giving meeting.
At these meetings the officers are given time to detail the great work they have achieved in the pursuit of law and order following which they are officially recognised for their notable arrests despite the risk posed to them personally, as well as to the public. Our close relationships with the South African Police Service has brought additional safety into our stores and streets and has ensured that the officers who stand in our defense are never overlooked for the dedication but rather applauded for their efforts.
Honouring our police heroes is important to Boxer and we continue to give them the praise the truly deserve. At these meetings dozens of our police men and women have been awarded certificates and Boxer shopping gift cards as a token of appreciation
Honouring the Guardians of our communities
SAPS Victim Friendly Facility Renovations:
Boxer recognises the need of those who are affected by crime and that when they do become victims, they turn to our hard working police service for assistance. Boxer has had a long standing relationship with the SAPS and has agreed to work with police stations to revamp their Victim Friendly Facility. If a child or an adult has experienced trauma and needs the help of the SAPS, these revamped rooms provide a calm and comfortable environment where victims can sit and talk to a helpful police officer about the incident.
Boxer recognises the important role sport plays in building communities. By providing sport kits, sponsoring teams and managing a team of runners through the Boxer Athletics Club, Boxer continues to empower communities through sport.
Setting The Pace
With each stride taken, the runner pushes the boundaries of human endurance. Body tensed as determined feet strike the ground. Filled with adrenalin and hope with only one thing on their mind, the finish line! For many, athletics is not just a way to pass time but a lifestyle choice. Noticing the immense raw talent within the disadvantaged areas surrounding Boxer stores, it was an easy decision for Boxer to want to nurture the potential of determined and dedicated athletes. From this decision, the idea of an Athletics Club emerged.
The Boxer Athletics Club was established in 2005 and has, over the years grown from strength to strength. Providing support to professional and amateur athletes alike, the Boxer Athletics Club is a club that is admired by many in the athletics fraternity. With a striking kit including the Boxer brand colours, the Club’s athletes proudly fly the Boxer flag high! The strength of the Boxer Athletics Club lies in the abilities of its athletes and that belief was reaffirmed when well recognised Boxer Athletics Club runners were selected to represent South Africa in many Olympic Games.
The greatness of this Club’s athletes was further edified when Elroy Gelant and Lebo Phalula were selected to compete in South African colours at the Olympic Games. There are many other Club athletes as well who have made, and continue to make, great strides in the world of sports.
Boxer is proud to have our runners wear our Club’s colours. Boxer is also dedicated to uplifting the development of athletics in communities.
Investing Back Into The Sport:
There is a passion to live the one life we have as best as possible and running is an important part of many lives across South Africa. The Boxer Athletics Club has many well-known runners who have achieved great success but have not forgotten where they came from. These athletes have created Youth Development Programmes where future runners, and runners who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, have the ability to train and learn from the very best.
Promotiong Good Health:
Running promotes good health and strengthens communities. Coupled together with key clothing and accessory brands, the Boxer Athletics Club continues to grow internally as a benchmark running club and externally as a community champion. The Boxer Athletics Club focuses not only on the success of each individual runner at every race, but also of those who desire to live a better, healthier life.
Elite runners are sponsored by the Boxer Athletics Club and the promotion of running as a social sport is a key factor in the Club’s mandate. Many of these athletes achieve incredible results and are selected to compete in overseas meets, proudly funded by Boxer.
Supporting Communities Through Cricket:
Cricket unites, builds foundations and creates opportunities for those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. South Africa, being as diverse as it is, has certain areas which have children who are more passionate about cricket than other sport. In the Western Cape, for example, many Boxer shoppers have talented young cricket stars in the making. Boxer seeks to assist those youngsters through sponsorships and joint sporting ventures. The goal is simple: Reignite the passion and enthusiasm for the game of cricket in underprivileged communities and schools. Boxer has worked with many organisations, such as the JP21 Foundation, to achieve the ultimate goal of nurturing and growing the future cricketers for South Africa.
Growing Communities Through Sponsorship:
Fully branded soccer kits have been earned by an overwhelming number of schools and soccer clubs in support of their soccer dreams. Boxer has supported key soccer tournaments in an effort to positively influence the free time that youngsters have. Boxer uses various initiatives to enhance the presence of sports in disadvantaged communities as well as to lay a foundation for future athletes’ dreams to be realised.
“Winning means you’re willing to go longer, work harder and give more than anyone else.”
Boxer’s efforts to create a cleaner future for generations can be seen through the many initiatives under the Going Green banner. From unique recycling projects to energy savings practices, Boxer is determined to make a difference.
The Abahlengi Bemvelo Project
Boxer’s ‘Abahlengi Bemvelo’ project, a Zulu term meaning ‘Rescuers of the Environment’, is a recycling initiative with two main goals: the creation of meaningful jobs through enterprise development and environmental sustainability. Boxer creates income for local community recyclers who sell the recyclable materials which Boxer collects from each store.
How It Works:
The Abahlengi Bemvelo project involves the buying and installing of waste balers to Superstores across the country. These balers are run by the existing small businesses which collect the paper and plastic objects and compress them into 40kg bales. The balers have been installed in branches served by Boxer’s Distribution Centres allowing the bales to be collected and returned to the DC through reverse logistics following the delivery of goods to the store. A waste company then collects the bales from the DC and each ‘Rescuer of the Environment’ business is paid directly by that waste company for the number of bales produced.
Positive Results For All:
Each year many thousands of tonnes worth of recyclable material is collected and thousands of kWh of energy are removed from the electricity grid. Forests of trees are saved and the carbon footprint from CO emissions is significantly reduced. Dams of water have been saved as a result of the project and thousands of unnecessary metres of landfill space have been left empty.
Energy Saving Initiatives
Saving Energy Through Advanced Lighting Systems:
Thanks to the light-emitting diode (LED) Lighting System installed in various Boxer Superstores, energy consumption has been reduced and the strain on the country’s electricity supply has been lessened. This successful project has also been carried over into Boxer Distribution Centres where the world class lighting systems have seen a dramatic reduction in wasted energy in the Distribution Centres which operate twenty four hours a day.
Using Technology To Save Energy:
In addition to this the Distribution Centres have also created a system where natural lighting is utilised to reduce extra ‘bulb’ costs and energy needed at the Distribution Centres. Boxer’s Head Office runs on the LED lighting system which uses motion sensor based technology which further cuts down the energy used on a daily basis.
Boxer Superstores made a decision to reduce the levels of energy used in stores through a number of projects. These projects, although initially quite costly, are important ‘stepping stones’ to reducing the impact from day to day trade in the retail sector.
Greener Ways To Work
The Boxer Meat Factory in KwaZulu-Natal has a number of green initiatives which reduce the amount of waste and add to Boxer’s overall endeavours to find greener ways to work.
The Meat Factory works in conjunction with a local waste centre to recycle all plastic waste from the factory. The waste centre cleans and recycles all the plastic in exchange for free supply of all used plastic. More than 4000kg are recycled each month.
Most of the raw materials from the Meat Factory arrive in cartons which are recycled by a 5 tonne compactor on site. Over 20 000kg of carton waste is recycled per month.
Due to the large amount of meat processed at the Meat Factory, strict cleaning regimes are part of the process to ensure the factory remains in the best condition year round. To reduce the impact of the drain cleaning process, a dosing system with enzymes injects 6.6 litres into the drain on a daily basis. Enzymes are environmentally safe bacteria used to break down greases, drastically improving the waste water quality. Not only is approved environmentally friendly water returned to the local municipal system but there is also no longer a need for extra recycling of fat required.
All garden waste is specifically collected and delivered to a local compost farm.
Water Savings Initiatives
The need to conserve water is a major priority for Boxer. Through the management of recycling depots at the many Superstores country wide, Boxer has managed to cut down water consumption and save millions of litres over the years. On average over 73 million litres of water has been saved per year on the recycling initiatives and the figure continues to grow through in store and head office water conservation campaigns. At the Boxer Meat Fatory, hand taps are powered by foot pedals to prevent excess water wastage.