In South Africa, our main channel for supporting enterprise is Mondi Zimele, a Mondi-owned subsidiary which aims to accelerate community empowerment in the forestry value chain and support small businesses around Mondi’s operations. Mondi Zimele supported 21 businesses and provided discounted loan funding of €1.4 million in 2019, amounting to a total of €12 million since 2012, supporting over 230 local businesses, and contributing to creating over 3,500 jobs.
The small-scale timber grower programme has benefited over 3,200 growers through Mondi Zimele supporting and sourcing timber from 1-2 hectare households in rural communities. It has helped generate direct revenues of €6.75 million to date. As part of the programme, Mondi Zimele has distributed 2.1 million seedlings to eligible small growers, and provided training, mill visits and knowledge-sharing field days.
Addressing youth unemployment in South Africa has always been central to Zimele’s objectives. In 2019, Mondi Zimele partnered with Harambee, a social enterprise organisation focusing on accelerating youth employment. The initiative provided 1,000 youth around Mondi’s operations with functional, behavioural and social skills necessary for entry into employment, through experiential simulation. 39 of these youth were employed by our contractors during our annual maintenance shut.