newsletter banner
ST 2024 screenshot

March 2024 Newsletter

Democracy is widely recognised as the form of governance that best safeguards human rights. As we celebrate these rights this month with International Women’s Day on 8 March and Human Rights Day on 21 March, it is fitting that we also look to what 2024 might mean for the future of democracy.   This year, at least 64 countries representing close to half the world’s population will go to the polls. South Africa will be among them, with elections widely anticipated to mark a turning point for the country’s political future.

 

December 2023 Newsletter

As 2023 draws to a close, Trialogue has begun the process of reflecting on the past year, the key changes we are seeing in the development sector, and how our current and future offerings can better serve the sector.

 

We are witnessing a transformation in corporate social investment (CSI). From the charitable approach of the past a more strategic approach has emerged, one that is gathering momentum towards a leveraged, collaborative approach that aims to deliver systemic change.

 

September 2023 Newsletter

Heritage Month provides South Africans with a unique opportunity to reflect on what holds us together as a nation. This year, the theme is ‘Celebrating our Cultural Diversity in a Democratic South Africa’, underscoring the Constitution’s declaration that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.

 

One of the ways to promote greater social cohesion, and unify our efforts to build a better nation, is through volunteering, which is fast becoming an important tool in a company’s corporate social investment (CSI) toolkit – as Trialogue explored in a recent webinar.

 

June 2023 Newsletter

This year, as we celebrate youth month under the theme ‘Accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future’, we reflect on the importance of initiatives that can help fortify our young people to meet their future challenges.

Preparing younger generations to participate meaningfully in the world of work starts early. With this in mind, we invite you to review the animated discussion that took place at our annual Business in Society Conference on education and other relevant topics, and to attend our free webinar on connected schools and the future classroom, which is coming up later this month.

 

March 2023 Newsletter

March is a month to celebrate human rights. On 8 March, we celebrated International Women’s Day – part of Women’s History Month – and on 23 March, we will celebrate Human Rights Day.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #EmbracEquity. As the #EmbraceEquity
campaign explains, equity means recognising that everyone’s circumstances are different, so equal opportunities can serve to exclude rather than include. Instead, equity demands that we allocate the resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome for everyone – a shift that acknowledges we haven’t all had the same advantages or opportunities in society

December 2022 Newsletter

As the year draws to a close, we have a lot of developmental shifts to mull over, including resolutions passed at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27), which was held in Egypt in November. The United Nations has proposed a loss and damage fund to assist those countries most vulnerable to the effect of climate change. Although this seems positive, it shouldn’t be forgotten that similar promises to developing countries have yet to be fulfilled.

September 2022 Newsletter

Dear reader

South Africa’s Heritage Month is traditionally a time to reflect on social cohesion, shared national identity and nation building. It is difficult to focus on a social compact, however, while we continue to live in a country that is suffering the effects of State Capture and corruption.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, chair of the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, recently asserted that a reboot of State Capture is not unthinkable, and one of the ways to guard against it is to rethink our majority party system of governance.

Electoral reform is a key goal of the recently established Defend our Democracy campaign, a broad coalition of business, organised labour, civil society groups, faith-based and community organisations, academia and the media.

Read more

June 2022 Newsletter

Dear reader

Young people advanced the cause of freedom in South Africa, on 16 June 1976 – but on the 46th anniversary of the Soweto student uprising, our youth are facing a barrage of challenges that are putting their future in peril, from youth unemployment and persistent inequality to the high cost of living and the climate crisis.

The theme of Youth Day – and indeed Youth Month – is ‘Promoting sustainable livelihood and resilience of young people for a better tomorrow’. This is an urgent mandate, starting with initiatives that drive employment and entrepreneurship. Examples include the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI) and the Youth Employment Service (YES), a non-profit established by the private sector in 2018 to create job opportunities for unemployed youth. Companies are also addressing some of the problems facing young South Africans – read Momentum Metropolitan’s case study on seeking a solution to the complex issue of youth unemployment on the Trialogue Knowledge Hub.

Read more

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.

Read more

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).

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read More

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

Read more

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.

Read More

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.

Read More