NEWSLETTERS

March 2022 Newsletter

Dear reader

We were optimistic that 2022 would offer a reprieve from some of the challenges of the past few years – a waning pandemic and fragile economic recovery seemed to promise hope. Then, on 24 February, Russia invaded Ukraine, Europe’s frontline democracy. The world watched in dismay as President Vladimir Putin put his country’s nuclear forces on high alert.

The crisis has galvanised companies all over the world to respond, from heeding the call to sanction Russia to providing active support to Ukraine by way of donations of cash and medical supplies, fundraising campaigns, and more. For those companies wishing to formulate a more structured response, there are good practice guidelines and toolkits that provide practical guidance to solving some of the world’s most pressing crises.

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December 2021 Newsletter

Dear reader

It’s no exaggeration to say that 2021 has tested us all immeasurably. The economic, social, and emotional fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic continues, and the civil unrest in July this year, together with regular loadshedding, have demanded extraordinary resilience from everyone in our beautiful, beleaguered nation.

There are hopeful signs on the horizon, though. The pace of Covid-19 vaccinations has picked up following South Africa’s discovery of the Omicron variant, which appears to cause milder symptoms than other variants. COP26 also delivered some reasons to be hopeful, with public, private, and cross-sector pledges showing a collective commitment towards achieving ‘net zero’ and mitigating the damaging effects of climate change (see Trialogue’s recent series on climate change and business).

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September 2021 Newsletter

Dear reader

In July we experienced nine days of shocking civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng – the worst since 1994 A ‘perfect storm’ of factors led to the looting and violence: political opportunism, widespread hunger due to the withdrawal of the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant in April, and unprecedented levels of unemployment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (the latest data from Statistics SA puts unemployment at 34%, or 44% using the expanded definition).

On 22 July, shortly after the civil unrest, we hosted a corporate dialogue to support CSI practitioners’ thinking about how to assist colleagues and communities in the wake of the looting as well as how to address some of the root issues that led to the unrest. Read more about the dialogue here.

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May 2021 Newsletter

Dear reader

In an extraordinary move, the United State of America has thrown its support behind the waiver of intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines. This action will result in poorer countries being able to manufacture their own vaccines and speed up vaccination drives, which will ultimately ensure the survival of many people. We have activists from South Africa, India and all over the globe, and some lawmakers in the US, to thank for this development.

The pandemic has highlighted the fact that the actions of nations have become more intertwined in our
interconnected world, illustrating that building back better is a collective and global effort.

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February 2021 Newsletter

Dear reader

We ushered in the New Year amidst a second wave of Covid-19 infections – but the arrival of the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines on our shores on 1 February has given the country some much-needed hope. An AstraZeneca vaccine trial in South Africa has confirmed 100% protection against severe disease and hospitalisation, which should significantly alter the trajectory of the pandemic. That said, there is still much uncertainty ahead, with economic recovery dependent on several factors, including how quickly the vaccine is rolled out, and whether a potential third wave of Covid-19 is likely.

There is no doubt that 2021 will be a challenging year for business. Declining corporate profitability will have a negative impact on CSI budgets, and many of the disastrous consequences of the pandemic remain with us, including widespread hunger. However, we at Trialogue remain optimistic about the possibility of building back better once the pandemic has been brought under control.

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Special Edition 2020 Newsletter

Dear reader

This is a truly unique opportunity for business to flex its socially responsible, ethical and innovative muscle, and for all sectors of society to explore what we can achieve when we work together creatively towards a common goal. While we know that you are more than likely inundated with Covid-19-related news, we want to do our part to ensure that you have access to curated information about how business South Africa is being affected by and, importantly, how it is responding during this unprecedented period.

Please share how your organisation is responding to Covid-19 by emailing us at info@trialogue.co.za.

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December 2020 Newsletter

Dear reader

While we all know just how challenging 2020 has been for everyone, we are mere weeks away from 2021, which will bring us a step closer to a vaccine against Covid-19. Although the vaccine is no cure-all, and the effects of the pandemic will be with us for years to come, it will help to restore a sense of normalcy to society and be a factor in the reanimation of the global economy. ‘Normalcy’ is a relative term, however, since we most assuredly do not want to return to where we were at the beginning of 2020.

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September 2020 Newsletter

Dear reader

Heritage Month has been notable thus far for violent protests at Clicks stores nationwide in response to a racially offensive advertisement published on its website. At the time of writing, 37 stores had been vandalised, looted and even petrol-bombed. Clicks and various other retailers have begun to remove TRESemmé products, the Unilever brand that produced the advert, from their shelves.

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June 2020 Newsletter

Dear reader

What tumultuous times we are living in. It is clearer than ever that change is afoot and systemic inequality is no longer tolerable. As we see waves of protest over police brutality around the world, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in the United States, we cannot ignore our own experiences of police brutality, aimed largely at the poorest and most vulnerable citizens in the country. A recent report indicates that more than ten people died at the hands of the police and military during South Africa’s national lockdown – a jarring reminder that the legacy of historic injustice, violence and prejudice remain with us. Our country’s civil society has called for greater accountability and the restructuring of our security forces – much like the call in the US.

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April 2020 Newsletter

Dear reader

This is a truly unique opportunity for business to flex its socially responsible, ethical and innovative muscle, and for all sectors of society to explore what we can achieve when we work together creatively towards a common goal. While we know that you are more than likely inundated with Covid-19-related news, we want to do our part to ensure that you have access to curated information about how business South Africa is being affected by and, importantly, how it is responding during this unprecedented period.

Read more

March 2020 Newsletter

Dear reader

The urgency with which all sectors of society must act to address South Africa’s gaping socioeconomic divide is only reinforced by Covid-19. While we heed the government’s decisive call to curb the spread of the virus, we are also compelled to consider the far-reaching impact that it could have on our already disenfranchised and under resourced communities.

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December 2019 Newsletter

Dear reader

I’m sure you’ll agree that 2019 has been a challenging year, not just in South Africa, but across the world. Community protests, crime and violence – particularly committed by men against women and children, poor education outcomes, a tough economic climate and a dire lack of jobs and leadership, the consistently felt impact of climate change. These are just some of the pressing social issues that the latest edition of the Trialogue Business in Society Handbook talks to, compelling business to respond with urgency.

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September 2019 Newsletter

Dear Reader

Women’s Month and the start of spring in South Africa have been marked under a dark cloud of pervading violence; by men against women and children, and by disgruntled South Africans against our African neighbors who have come here to escape oppression and seek opportunity. Rather than our breaking point, may this be our tipping point – a period when women unite to demand the dignity and respect that is inherently ours and in which the power of collective resilience and responsibility lead to national healing and collaboration.

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May 2019 Newsletter

Dear reader

We hosted our annual Trialogue Business in Society Conference just three weeks before national elections. Amidst the polarisation that comes with politicking – anticipating that our delegates could use some perspective on the journey that we have already travelled as a country, and our potential to rebuild – we invited lifelong activist and former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Albie Sachs, to speak on the integral connection between progressive law, robust democracy and ethical business.

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March 2019 Newsletter

Dear reader

Trialogue will host its annual Business in Society Conference and interactive pre-conference masterclasses on Shared Value and Monitoring and Evaluation on 15-17 April. Our global exchange partner, CECP (Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy) has launched an exciting new project that will expand how corporate giving insights are shared and gathered across the globe.

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December 2018 Newsletter

Dear reader

We launched the 21st edition of our annual Handbook on 28 November. The first two editions were titled the Corporate Social Investment and Development Handbook and then, for the next 17, the CSI Handbook. Last year we changed the name to The Trialogue Business in Society Handbook. This was more than just a change in title; it was about the positioning of CSI as an integral part of business. The feedback from clients and readers has been overwhelmingly positive and I believe this is attributed to a growing consciousness in the business community of the interdependence between business and society. We hear about ‘shared value’, ‘purpose-driven businesses’ and the focus on business values – these are no longer terms used to serve a PR agenda, but concepts that are now actively pursued within businesses and supported by business leadership.

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August 2018 Newsletter

Dear reader

Social investment has been around for decades. In the early days, the practice usually involved identifying worthy projects and making grants. For some companies, this is still the case. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, we are increasingly seeing a more innovative and strategic approach to the way companies contribute to society.

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May 2018 Newsletter

Dear reader

Trialogue recently hosted its annual Business in Society Conference, which brought together more than 400 stakeholders in development to share lessons, strengthen collaboration and inspire innovation. Our global exchange partner, CECP (Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy), also held its annual summit in New York. Insights from these industry-leading events and much more

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March 2017 Newsletter

Dear Reader

“Freedom did not fall from heaven, freedom was fought for, freedom was sacrificed for.” – Ahmed Kathrada

Sometimes, it takes the death of a truly inspirational leader to remind us of our purpose and value as development professionals. As South Africa mourns the passing of Ahmed Kathrada, we are cognisant that our work is not yet complete – and that it sometimes requires hardship and sacrifice. However, based on our experiences in the development landscape over the past 20 years, I remain positive about the ability of our sector to take South Africa forward.

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January 2017 Newsletter

Dear Reader

Warm greetings and best wishes for 2017, from all of us at Trialogue. We look forward to sharing many exciting developments, fostering new and nurturing established partnerships, in the year ahead.

This is an especially significant year for us, as we celebrate our 20th annual handbook and 10th annual conference. We produced our first handbook in 1998, entitled the Corporate Social Investment and Development Handbook. A year later the title was shortened to just Corporate Social Investment – CSI – and the term became entrenched as part of the developmental lexicon in South Africa. While I believe that the CSI term is as relevant today as it was then, we have decided as a business to adopt terminology that more holistically represents the codependent and integral role of business in society. Our 10th conference will now be called The Business in Society Conference – and the 20th edition of our Handbook, The Business in Society Handbook.

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