By Amanda Mavhaza, ZiMining Reporter
Spurred by the need to be more transparent about their environmental, economic and social impacts, Amalgamated Regional Trading (ART) is now counted among the growing number of companies in more than ninety countries worldwide to adopt the Global Reporting Initiative(GRI) standards.
GRI’s framework for sustainability reporting helps companies identify, gather and report information in a clear and comparable manner
While presenting the company’s audited group financial results for the year ended 30 September 2019, ART Chairman, Dr Thomas Wushe said that the group is committed to meet the local regulator and stakeholder expectations.
“The Group has taken a bold step to align operations against the rising expectations by regulators and other strategic stakeholders to operate sustainably.
” We understand the limitations of our planet and how our operations, if not managed, can threaten our ability to operate in the long term.
“This understanding has led us to adopt sustainability as a strategic tool to manage the stakeholder issues that affect our capacity to create value. We have adopted the GRI standards to help us identify opportunities and manage our environmental, social and economic impacts,” said Dr Wushe.
Founded in 2000, the GRI is an international independent standards organisation that helps businesses, governments and organisations to communicate their impacts on issues such asenvironmental, social and governance performance, andis now adopted in more than ninety countries worldwide.
Meanwhile, the group posted a revenue increase to ZW$267 million during the period under review.
ART’s capital expenditure for the year was restrained to ZW$8.2 million with focus being on critical projects and improvements.
The group attributed the increase in revenue to price increases effected in response to the increased cost of production.
Despite the increase in revenue, ART reported an 18% fall of volumes attributed to continued shortage of foreign currency and the persisting liquidity constraints.
However, export volumes for batteries and paper increased by 4% and 7% respectively on the back of consistent product availability and increased selling effort in Zambia and Malawi.
Also, volumes for solar and industrial batteries increased by 12% from the preceding year as opportunities in the local market could not be fully exploited due to product supply gaps.
Dr Wushe projected a bright future for the group despite challenges facing the economy.
“The challenges in the economic environment are expected to persist in the short term as inflation and foreign currency volatility will constrain trading.
” The group will continue to defend its market share whilst exploiting new export markets and opportunities existing in the hygiene, solar and industrial battery segments.
“Operational efficiencies will be enhanced to ensure that costs are contained and our customers continue to receive quality products and superior service ,” added Dr Wushe.
Companies under the ART group of companies include Chloride Zimbabwe, EXIDE, EXIDE Express, Eversharp, Softex, Kadoma Paper Mills (KPM) and National Waste Collections (NWC).