Support local industry – It makes good sense

by Tania Wannenburg

Buying locally produced goods is good for the country’s economy, and supporting local brands provides a great stimulus for job creation.

In addition, with the architectural, building and construction sectors all deeply involved in finding ways to assist the environment, buying locally manufactured flooring materials means that they do not clock up the ‘carbon mileage’ that is inherent in imported products.

Although some of the websites on the Internet regarding the promotion of goods made in this country do not seem very active, some local participants seem to be going from strength to strength despite the economy continuing to suffer.

This website comes from a server in Florida, USA, offering a central point for all South African industry including manufacturers and service providers to display their products/services for the international business-to-business and business-to-customer communities.

It has numerous categories that should ostensibly provide overseas enquirers with brief details on trading with or in South Africa, including a list of businesses that they could be interested in but, although this site has been in existence for a number of years (sometimes under different names), there is no information provided under any of the headings.
However, as the site is still up, it might be interesting to give it a try.

In our corresponding article last year (Floors Jnl 1/12) we also included www.madeinsouthafrica.blogspot.com, but this seems to have disappeared without trace.

Likewise, www.madeinsouthafrica.biz from Cape Town also featured in the same article as an online shop, but it appears that this site is no longer in use either.

Currently in its 11th year of operation, the Proudly South African “buy local” Campaign is still progressing at a considerable rate. Launched in 2001 by government, organised business, organised labour and community organisations to boost job creation and pride in local manufacture by promoting South African companies and their ‘homegrown’ products and services.

Buying South African stimulates an increased demand for locally produced products and services, which translates into the safeguarding of existing employment opportunities, economic growth, and the creation of more quality employment opportunities in our country.

By buying Proudly South African, both consumers and businesses are making a personal contribution to nation-building. Consumers get an assurance of quality because only quality products carry the Proudly South African mark, while members of the Campaign are furthermore committed to an upliftment ethos and socially responsible business practices which are reflected in the membership criteria. In this manner the Campaign represents and stimulates the creation of a virtuous circle which benefits all.

Membership is not restricted to a particular type of business or organisation. Any company or institution, whether it renders a professional service or is a manufacturing business, a public entity, sports body, school, tertiary institution, government department, municipality, NGO, town or city, or even an individual may be eligible to join the Campaign, provided that he/she/it supports the Campaign’s overall aims and objectives and meets the Campaign’s membership criteria.

The qualifying criteria for Proudly SA membership are that at least 50% of the cost of production must be incurred in South Africa and there must be ‘substantial transformation’ of any imported materials; the product or service must be of a proven high quality; the company must comply with labour legislation and adhere to fair labour practices; and must be environmentally responsible and adhere to production processes that are environmentally friendly and acceptable.

A significant recent development entails the formal agreement signed in September 2012 which enabled Proudly SA and Productivity SA to join forces to promote productivity and employment in South Africa through joint campaigns and educational programmes to enhance social cohesion and highlight the importance of buying locally and supporting local businesses.

At the time of writing Proudly SA is currently engaged in a series of Buy Local roadshows in the Eastern Cape which kicked off in Port Elizabeth on 12th October 2012.

Stressing the importance of home-grown trade at this event, Leslie Sedibe, Proudly South Africa’s chief executive, warned that if the recent adverse effect of Chinese imports experienced by the retail and textile industry repeats in other industries, the situation could become desperate.

“If we keep importing retail good because they are cheaper, we could end up being the world’s biggest warehouse, with the majority of people being unemployed,” he said. “Nobody forces people to buy Chinese, but the fact remains that China has a strategy for South Africa, and we do not have one for them.”

“Countries that escaped the wrath of the recession relied on their people and manufacturers,” he said. “If we are going to withstand the shifting global economy we need to focus on and strengthen the local economy.”

Proudly SA seeks to strongly influence procurement in public and private sectors, to increase local production and stimulate job creation. This is in line with government’s plans to revive the economy so that 5 million jobs can be created and unemployment can be decreased to 15% over the next 10 years under the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan.

The Proudly SA Campaign fits hand-in-glove with the broader national developmental agenda and the recently signed Local Procurement Accord.

The Accord is a pact that seeks to boost local industry and create more jobs through localised procurement. It was signed in October 2011 by government, business, labour unions and community bodies. These role players have committed themselves to increasing the number of goods and services bought locally to 75%.

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is the national standardisation authority, responsible for maintaining South Africa’s database of more than 6 500 national standards, as well as developing new standards and revising, amending or withdrawing existing standards as required.

Apart from offering systems certification and product testing against the requirements of South African National Standards (SANS), SABS Commercial also operates its proprietary product certification scheme – the SABS Mark of Approval – a universally recognised icon in South Africa, assuring buyers that products are safe and fit for purpose and that redress can be sought.

SABS is committed to providing standardisation services that improve the competitiveness of South Africa through the understanding and development of standardisation products and services within South Africa and internationally.

It should be noted the using the words “SABS Tested” or “SABS Approved” on flooring products or promotional material such as brochures or advertisements is not permitted.

The SABS logo can be used officially only with reference to products that have obtained an “SABS Mark” (which must be renewed every three years). Anyone applying for a Mark is subjected to investigation and testing of the factory processes and products, and SABS inspectors check the facility twice a year while the Mark is valid.

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) is an independent, non-profit, membership-based organisation that was formed in 2007 by leaders from all sectors of the commercial property industry.

It is a full member of the World Green Building Council and the official certification body of buildings under the Green Star SA Rating System, and it aims to ensure that all buildings are built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way so that all South Africans work and live in healthy, effective and productive environments.

The GBCSA has urged local industry, business and the government to work together to embrace greening the built environment to help mitigate the impact of climate change, and in this respect the green movement is spreading like wildfire, with certified new buildings becoming a regular occurrence.

However, like the SABS, the GBCSA in no way endorses or certifies products. Its mandate is to facilitate the certification of the built environment, as an independent green authority and a non-profit company.

The GBSCA Membership logo cannot be used in any manner that expresses or might imply GBCSA affiliation, sponsorship, endorsement, certification or approval of any product or service by the GBCSA; nor any commercial product or publication that directly or implicitly conveys that the content is authorised or associated with the GBCSA, without the express written permission of the GBCSA.

FLOORS in Africa (part of the bourgeoning Media in Africa Group) was started 30 years ago by the late Schalk Burger, and is still the only specialised magazine dedicated to flooring on the African Continent, providing a mouthpiece for the flooring industry, and a well-respected tool in for the industry professionals.

The management and staff of FLOORS in Africa are in regular contact with the newsmakers and trendsetters both locally and internationally to keep its readership in touch with the latest flooring trends, developments and technology.

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