At Astron Energy, we believe transformation is key to South Africa’s future and is consistent with our own business objectives. Our intent is to lead change not as a short-term project, but as an ongoing, deeply rooted process in all we do.
Our transformation journey has been one of consistent, sustained improvement and has earned us an upper-tier rating for an integrated oil company and certification as a Level 2 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment contributor. This rating incorporates our full value chain and includes our refinery, sales and marketing as well as our lubricants business.
We are extremely proud of the milestone achievements that have helped us earn our Level 2 rating. Today 82% of our workforce are black South Africans, with 27% Black Female. At a senior level, all seven of our board directors are Black South Africans, of whom two are females.
In 2011, we launched a Management Programme in partnership with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business to develop future Black leaders. In addition to various high value skills development programmes, we have initiated a 12-month training programme for Black unemployed learners living with disabilities. They receive training in business administration and marketing to create a pipeline of candidates for positions at Astron Energy and across the industry. The programme was awarded the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority’s Recognition for Support of People with Disabilities Award in 2016.
Approximately 90% of our procurement is with Black suppliers, of which 65% are Black woman-owned. In addition, approximately 50% of our procured oil and petroleum products are through Black empowered traders, most of which are Black woman-owned. Our enterprise and supplier development programme is exclusive to small and medium suppliers within our value chain and is designed to drive sustainable growth through providing both mentorship and access to interest-free, unsecured financing which can be used as working capital and for expansion. The programme has been named one of the 20 biggest enterprise and supplier development programmes in the country by SMESouthafrica.co.za.
Another important aspect of our transformation journey has been our focus on updating traditional ownership models for our retail business with an innovative business model, the Caltex Branded Marketer Programme. It places over 50% of our retail network in the hands of entrepreneur investors, with an average of 73% Black ownership. This programme was specifically developed to provide an opportunity for new Black entrants to participate in the petroleum retail market. These examples reflect our deep and unwavering commitment towards Transformation and have helped to ensure the sustainability of our results. Our commitment to Transformation, however, goes beyond compliance as we continue to seek opportunities that drive economic prosperity, cultivate mutually beneficial business relationships and demonstrate good business practice.