Integrated Reporting & Assurance Services, or ‘IRAS’ is a Close Corporation registered on the 12th of April 2011 (Registration Number: 2011/006116/07). As from 01 July 2020, IRAS has one Non-Executive Director, Tozama Kulati-Siwisa, one Managing Partner and Lead Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP), Michael H. Rea, four full-time Associates and one part-time Associate.
Due to its total annual revenue of less than R10 million, IRAS is deemed an Exempted Micro Enterprise (EME) according to the revised Department of Trade and Industry (dti) Codes of Good Practice, and thus a Level 4 Supplier. However, the completion of our B-BBEE transaction to convert the company’s shareholding 100% Black Female Owned results in IRAS being a Level 1 supplier. Day-to-day operations and service delivery will continue to occur under the leadership of the Managing Partner: Michael H Rea.
As the Non-Executive Director, Tozama, BCom, PDip, has a 16-year history in the Metals & Mining sector, with specific comprehensive experience in Community/Socioeconomic Development, Stakeholder Engagement, Mine Community Resettlement and Social & Labour Planning.
As Managing Partner and Lead Assurer, Michael has undergraduate degrees in Biology and Psychology, as well as an MBA in Corporate Social Responsibility. He is highly experienced in the field of Independent Third-Party Assurance (ITPA) over Sustainability Reports and/or Sustainability sections within Integrated Annual Reports. Michael has presented widely on ITPA and is well-versed on local and international best practice, including AccountAbility’s AA1000AS Assurance Standard. Michael, in partnership with AccountAbility (UK), facilitated SA’s only Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP) course (2009 through 2013).
The relationship between Tozama and Michael stretches back to 2007, when Michael served as Tozama's mentor at Lonmin. The decision to restructure IRAS under Tozama's leadership was made partially to improve our B-BBEE compliance, but also to create a vehicle through which Tozama's depth of experience in the mining sector could be harnessed to create new training opportunities for recent university graduates from lesser-privileged backgrounds.
Michael's consulting and research activities are supported by one full-time experienced consultant, Hsien (6 years' experience with IRAS), and three recent additions to the team. Simona, Kovilen and Brett all graduated from the GIBS MBA programme right before the COVID-19 lockdown. Each one has indicated that the primary reason for joining IRAS was their desire to apply their skills and experience in the field of ESG analytics and assurance, while gaining practical experience that will further expand upon what they learned at GIBS.
Our final team member, Lamack, is a part-time associate based in ZImbabwe. With more than 20 years' experience in the Health, Safety & Environment field, almost exclusively in the mining sector, Lamack's ambition is to either extend IRAS's reach into Zim, or to replicate the business model on his own, while maintaing his role as a "networked associate" within a group of 20 such specialist who partner with IRAS as/when specific skills and capacity are required.
As a demonstration of our commitment to sustainability, IRAS supports socioeconomic development (SED) by directing no less than 10% of all revenue (not the SA standard of 1.0% - 1.5% of Net Profit After Tax) to projects that IRAS is actively involved in. In 2019, IRAS directed more than 20% of total revenue to SED (15% in 2018). As from September 2018, the bulk of all SED spend is directed to the Siyathuthuka Khalokhazi Basket Ladies project in rural KZN.
Tozama has extensive experience in stakeholder relations, conflict management and Social & Labour Plan management and Mine Community Resettlement, as per IFC Performance Standard 5, both at the Director and Trustee level. She is an accountant turned social scientist, with more than 22 years' experience in various strategic and leadership roles.
Tozama holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the Tshwane University of Technology, and is currently studying for a Master's in Project Management from University of Queensland and is a Doctorate candidate at Tshwane University of Technology.
With undergrad degrees in Biology and Psychology, plus an MBA, Michael has be providing ESG/sustainability reporting and assurance services to clients in 19 countries for over 20 years.
When AccountAbility (UK) had its shit together, Michael was their sole representative in SA, training over 130 new Certified Sustainability Assurance Providers (CSAPs) between 2009 and 2013, in partnership with the ACCA and the University of Stellenbosch Graduate School of Business.
Originally from Canada, Michael moved to South Africa in 1999 and considers himself a ‘wannabe S’African’. He created IRAS as a shared value entity that generates income as a means to have an over-sized socioeconomic impact on our employees, our business partners, and the beneficiaries of the Siyathuthuka Khalokhazi Basket Ladies project: a 100% Black Female microeconomic development project based in northern KZN.
A passionate e-cyclist, Michael rode across Canada (Victoria to Halifax) in 2018, and from Cairo to Francistown (Botswana) in 2019. The plan for 2020…once the borders re-open…is to return to Francistown and complete the last leg of his ‘Cairo to Cape Town Carbon Free’ ride.
Michael’s principle aim in SA’s post-COVID era is to employ up to 10 people interested in using IRAS as a means of creating their own jobs, doing something of strategic importance to IRAS inasmuch as it’s important to themself.
Hsien W Lou is an ESG and Assurance Analyst with nearly roughly 6 years' experience, almost all of which with IRAS (and Nimae Consulting). Since 2018, Hsien has been the Sustainability Data Transparency Index (SDTI) Research Manager, principally responsible for training and mentoring teams of research interns.
Hsien has an Honours degree in Environmental Management from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and is currently completing her MSc in Environmental Management.
In order to assist in the achievement of sustainability goals of companies, Hsien has provided an array of related consulting services, including ESG due diligences, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), the development of Environmental & Social Management Systems (ESMS), as well as the compilation of EIAs and Basic Assessment Reports (BARs) which have taken into account local legislation and best practices.
Hsien is also an author of four fiction novels and in her spare time she enjoys playing piano, kickboxing, writing and drawing graphic novels.
With a BA in Drama and English, an honours in Theatre Directing, a PGDip in Management and an MBA, Simona's eclectic education has mixed creative with business to form a unique skill set. The alchemy of her skills is made up of, but is not limited to: critical thinking, innovation, creative and business communication, research, emotional intelligence, storytelling and sustainability.
Simona was the co-founder of her own theatre company at 22, and has directed and produced over 15 new works for her own company and as a consultant director. When Simona switched to film as a Development and Marketing Executive, she associate produced and developed 10 new concepts for TV and film. While completing her MBA, Simona became passionate about shared value, branding, research, sustainability and social entrepreneurship, joining IRAS as an ESG analyst in the hopes of learning-while-making-an-impact. Simona intends to find and create her own niche within the IRAS model that will combine her existing skills with new learnings.
Simona is zealous about storytelling-for-impact-and-learning, particularly the writing of case studies, and recently completed a teaching case study on the Wot-If? Trust, a Diepsloot-based NPO, and hopes to write many more.
Brett has a BCom Financial Management Sciences, CIMA Dip Management Accounting, PGDip General Management and an executive MBA. He has extensive experience in finance and management consulting, where he has developed a deep understanding of company reporting and keen critical thinking. His skills have afforded him the opportunity to apply his skills in South Africa, China, Italy, Germany and the USA.
After working for many years in the corporate world Brett has decided to use his power for good, applying his skill set to the field of sustainability. By joining IRAS, Brett hopes to help drive sustainability transparency and promote corporate social responsibility. He believes that everyone has a unique skill set that can be used to make a difference. By combining his financial knowledge with the extensive sustainability experience that exists within the IRAS team, Brett hopes to have a lasting impact in South Africa.
A passion for entrepreneurship, Brett has multiple small business ventures launching in 2020 that he hopes will create lasting employment for at least a South Africans, noting that in this time of economic climate of austerity each of us within the 'have' owe it to at least one person within the 'have not' the chance at creating a better life for themself.
Kovilen is a civil engineer, a professionally registered construction manager, holds a post-graduate diploma in project management, a post-graduate diploma in general management and an executive MBA. He has led various multidisciplinary, large scale, engineering and construction infrastructure projects around South Africa during trying conditions for the country.
Upon hanging up his hard-hat, Kovilen has co-founded a MedTech company that is prototyping through novel manufacturing methods to add value into the medical landscape in South Africa, and beyond. He has further entrepreneurial interests to boomerang back to infrastructure through gamified impact investing platforms in the FinTech realm. With a plethora of interests, Kovilen is a generalist with a keen interest in creating shared value in his endeavours entrepreneurially, and in a corporate setting.
Through understanding the potential that is to be unlocked through sustainable operations, Kovilen has joined IRAS to assist in promoting an accelerated trajectory toward improved transparency. The future of investing is steadily traversing toward ESG rated organisations and it is important for this to be understood and adopted now, such that it will be leveraged for the benefit of all into the future.
Lamack is a highly passionate, qualified and experienced Environmental Social & Governance, Safety & Sustainability professional with over 15 years work experience in multi-cultural organisations and working with multi-disciplinary project and operation teams to effectively embed a resilient and proactive ESG risk management and opportunity enhancement culture in the ‘DNA’ of the organisations.
Lamack holds a MSc Sustainability & Environmental Management (UK, 2018), Honors degree in Environmental Science (Zim, 2004) and several SHEQ professional qualifications.
Having worked on greenfield and brownfield projects and operations in mining (Gold & PGMs), telecommunications (mobile cellular & fixed network), and energy (thermal & hydro power) infrastructure sectors, Lamack has developed hands-on and proactive safety & sustainability risk management (and opportunity enhancement) competencies in high-impact sectors. Lamack has successfully supported the development, roll-out, implementation and continual improvement of safety & sustainability improvement initiatives on mining and mineral processing operations as well as the safe and sustainable delivery of large-scale linear and non-linear infrastructure projects guided by applicable regulatory requirements, compliance obligations as well as beyond-compliance requirements such as ISO 14001/ OHSAS 18001 Management System Standards, Environmental & Social Safeguards of multilateral financing institutions (IFC, and Equator Principles ) and the expectations of local communities where projects are implemented.
Lamack joined IRAS in 2020 as a part-time associate, with a keen desire to not only assist on SA-based projects, but also to gain valuable experience on ESG/Sustainability Assurance that he can export to Zimbabwe to support companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.