Johannesburg, South Africa, July 23, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Avis Southern Africa has long supported environmental and community upliftment programmes. Now the car rental company has upped its stake in corporate social responsibility (CSR) by appointing Jessica Branco as it’s Sustainability Manager.
Avis Southern Africa's managing director Wayne Duvenage says Branco’s appointment forms part of Avis’ strategy to play a greater role in investing in its people, local communities and the environment. “The Sustainability Manager is expected to bring Avis’ vision and philosophy around CSR to life. Her appointment is also about formalising the CSR process and determining the value of Avis’ current CSR activities and sponsorships.
“The work we do in this area is difficult to measure and we need to establish what else we should be doing that will be of real benefit to our people, local communities and the environment,” says Duvenage.
Many of the Avis sustainability initiatives involve vehicle sponsorships. What is required at Avis is to formalise many of the contracts it has in place and differentiate between those sponsorships that are conducted for branding opportunities and those that are genuine CSR initiatives. The Sustainability Manager will initially bed all these initiatives down and then investigate further opportunities.
Duvenage says CSR is a long-term process that everyone at Avis is encouraged to become involved in. “An example of this was a recent tree-planting ceremony at Thutuka Primary School in Thembisa where Avis Managers took time out of their conference, rolled up their sleeves and actually dug the holes and planted the trees,” he says.
Initiatives such as these form part of the ‘Avis Cares’ strategy, which focuses on improved recycling, community upliftment, internal training and development, and procurement through suppliers made up of previously disadvantaged individuals.
In addition, Avis supports several environmental programmes such as the Peace Parks Foundation, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Wilderness Leadership School Trust.
A key focus area for Branco, is to update and revise Avis' strategy around minimising the car rental company’s carbon footprint. This will be in addition to existing projects such as the installation of new wash bays that recycle 80% of water used at the Avis turnaround facilities and the employment of specialists to assist in electricity conservation and waste control.
Branco has worked at Avis for 20 years in various managerial positions including global distribution system (GDS) manager, call centre manager and organisational development manager.
Looking forward to her new role, Branco says through Avis she intends to make a difference to the environment and in peoples’ lives. “I feel honoured to be involved in this process. Avis could easily piggy-back on the projects being run by Barloworld, but these are issues so close to our hearts that we want to do so much more than go along for the ride,” she says.