Taking Root in Africa
When Cummins decided to expand its operations in Africa in 2010, it made sure Corporate Responsibility was included in the planning. The results are already paying off.
Over the past year, Cummins employees helped a leprosarium in Ghana. In South Africa, they revitalized parklands in Johannesburg, cleaned beaches in Cape Town and sponsored a blood drive in Kelvin. And in South Africa and Kenya, employees developed five gardens with storm water collection systems at centers for disadvantaged children and the elderly.
“Cummins Africa is on a journey to augment Corporate Responsibility across the continent, which shapes the very character of the organization,” said Avril Campher, Corporate Responsibility Manager – Africa. “It has been inspiring to witness how employee involvement has unfolded and with time, this core value can be strengthened.”
Cummins’ presence on the continent dates back to World War II, but in recent years the Company has viewed Africa as a significant growth market not unlike the Company’s entry into India in the 1960s and China in the 1970s.
Community involvement projects involving Cummins employees have been taking place in Africa for some time, especially in South Africa. But with the new focus, there is a renewed energy behind Cummins Corporate Responsibility value in Africa.
“Our leaders and employees in Africa are working incredibly hard as we try and grow our business on the continent,” said Emily Johnson, Cummins Corporate Responsibility Strategic Investments Director who moved from Indiana in the United States to Morocco in late 2011 to be part of the effort. “Many face challenges in their own lives so making time for Corporate Responsibility can be a challenge.”
Cummins believes strongly that there is a connection between community involvement and business success. Visionary Leader J. Irwin Miller, who was part of Cummins’ leadership for more than 25 years from the 1950s to the 1970s, believed that a company was only as strong as the communities where it did business and where its employees lived and worked.
Today, Cummins leaders believe community involvement not only builds stronger communities but also helps attract the best employees who want to make a difference in their communities.
In some cases, Cummins employees have combined pursuit of the Company’s’ diversity value with the Company’s Corporate Responsibility value.
One Cummins Woman, for example, is an on-going initiative launched across Cummins Africa by a team of women in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. The initiative’s main objective is to enhance networking, business relationships and the development of Cummins women in Africa (watch One Cummins Woman video).
But another facet is the “Taking Care of Others” initiative which was developed to align with Cummins’ 2011 Every Employee Every Community (EEEC) goal in Africa. Under Cummins’ EEEC program, employees can work at least four paid hours on community involvement projects and more if they have the approval of their supervisor.
Women at Cummins Ghana organized a visit to the Weija Leprosarium in Accra. Other women involved in the program worked with girls who were the victims of human trafficking in Johannesburg.
“For Cummins, Corporate Responsibility is part of how we do business,” Johnson said. “It is how we leverage and build skills and talents and how we believe we can succeed as a business in Africa.”