The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic compelled resilience from people, together with businesses and partners, in order to adapt to this new way of life and find innovative ways to survive and thrive during a pandemic. This has not been any different for Sasol. When the pandemic first broke out, Sasol knew that it had a responsibility to provide care, safety and to equip and support those who are at the forefront of fighting the pandemic as well as mitigating the impact in the communities in which we operate.
In order to meet its obligation, Sasol partnered and provided upskilling support to one of our incubatees, KSM Chemical Solutions, a small business that was developed at the Sasol Business Incubator from 2015 to 2016, so that it would be able to deliver thousands of litres of hand sanitiser to healthcare facilities and areas in need across South Africa. This small business had to adjust their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which almost forced KSM Chemical Solutions, to close their doors in March 2020 when the national lockdown began. Sasol supplies KSM with a high purity ethanol blend, which the smaller chemical maker turns into high-grade hand sanitiser. This partnership successfully produced and distributed over 1 million litres of hand sanitiser between April and October 2020, the majority of which went to our fence line communities. The production of this hand sanitiser was suspended in November given the decrease in the number of new cases of COVID-19 at the time.
This alliance also enabled Sasol to further increase the geographic reach by introducing a drumming process with a capacity of 500 drums a day, with one facility in Durban and another facility in Gauteng to cater for small customers, while keeping prices stable at a time when global demand and pricing for ethanol (alcohol) has increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the partnership, partners were able to offset costs, preserve jobs while caring for their communities ensuring that the spread of COVID-19 is mitigated in our communities. This is testament that when we foster inclusivity with our employees, customers, and stakeholders, the gains are endless.
When South Africa entered its second wave of COVID-19, the formidable project team went for an inclusive collaboration with internal stakeholders (Corporate Affairs, Supply Chain, Marketing and Sales, Legal, Base Chemicals), and external stakeholders: KSM Chemical Solutions as well as transport logistics partners: Stellar, Reef tankers, Supergroup and Imperial Logistics. Sasol is producing 200 000 litres of the sanitiser, while the logistics partners deliver over 19000 litres of sanitiser per week in Kinross, Secunda and Zamdela, Sasolburg, all at their own cost between February and April 2021. The hand sanitiser will be further donated to Taxi Associations, government departments, community partners, Traditional Leaders, schools, Early Childhood Development centres as well as correctional facilities in Secunda and Sasolburg.
“At Sasol, we are committed to the wellbeing of our communities. Throughout the campaign, we have always had an integrated response to COVID-19 by reprioritising our activities to ensure the stability and safety of our fence line communities. We have also been deliberate in supporting the cause using resources and partnerships that we already have, focusing on how our value chain can be redirected to support our communities and government to minimise impact on our cash flow while meeting the safety and health needs of our communities. For us, these kinds of partnerships are critical to saving lives and mitigating health, societal, and economic impacts” commented Dr Sarel Booyens, Head of Sasol for Good and Community Health and Environmental Programmes.