Responding to COVID-19 Responsibly

At the start of 2020, nobody could have predicted that the South African, or the global, economy was going to be so savagely devastated by COVID-19. With our official pre-pandemic lockdown unemployment rate encroaching 30% in March, even the more generous of estimates expect that more than 50% of our job-seeking population will be unemployed post-lockdown. This means that those of us fortunate to have jobs, even those of us self-creating our own employment, have a responsibility to act for the greater good wherever we can.

 

At IRAS, ours is not a business model structured around pursuits of personal wealth, but rather the concept of 'Shared Value'.

From the outset, back in 2009, the principle aim of the company was to act as a means to a more important socioeconomic ends: to generate income that would allow us to invest no less than 10% of our Total Revenue into projects that benefit those less fortunate than ourselves. Never has this been more important than now.

 

With SO many people out of work, and very few opportunities available for persons even of the highest skill levels, IRAS has committed to the following COVID-19 responses:

  1. Our rates have been cut by a minimum of 35% to shoulder some of the recovery burden companies face as we all emerge from our natonal lockdown. These new rates will be in place at least until the end of 2020.

  2. Provide ALL of the 320 JSE-listed companies with no less than bi-monthly research and thought leadership articles that may assist with understanding the rapid increase in demand for ESG information post-COVID-19.

  3. At an estimated cost of no less than 50% of our total revenue, recruit no fewer than three, but as many as 6, recent MBA graduates (currently all from the GIBS Class of 2019) to offer work experience and income assistance, as well as 'Creating Your Own Job' mentorship, guidance and support.

  4. Ensure that the ladies of Siyathuthuka Khalokazi Zulu Baskets (deep rural KZN) receive income guarantees of no less than R500 per team member per month (estimated at R144 000 for the year).

  5. When dining out, as IRAS does to informally engage our team on no less than a bi-weekly basis, tips at restaurants will be no less than 50% for the first 2 months after their reopening (to assist wait staff who were among the least compensated of workers during the lockdown).

Siyathuthuka Khalokhazi Zulu Baskets
Sarah and 23 other ladies in the Hlabisa area of northern KwaZulu Natal (KZN) practice the ancient art of Zulu basket weaving in a region where there are seldom any visitors to whom they can sell their work.
 
The IRAS team supports these ladies by sponsoring their cooperative and hosting them in Johannesburg up to four times a year. 
Our role is simple. We buy their work for a "fair wage" and then help them re-sell their baskets on the basis that all revenue returns to the ladies as a bonus. 
Email michael@iras.co.za if you'd like more information.

© 2019 by Integrated Reporting & Assurance Services