Driven by our core value of Sustainability, we believe that every single decision or action we take today has a direct impact on all decisions or actions which can be taken tomorrow.
It means not always taking the shortest route and not always being focused on a short-term time horizon. It means that we acknowledge that what we do today will have a direct influence on what we can do tomorrow.
We encourage the sharing of new ideas. We believe in preparing for tomorrow today. We know that to remain a market leader we have to continue to nurture and encourage a culture of innovation from within and find more efficient ways to do things.
We aim to build an organisation that is resilient, and which can endure and adapt through multiple generations of leadership as well as multiple product life cycles.
A sustainable organisation is bigger than the sum of its parts.
The most important space at Stor-Age is the environment that surrounds us. This is why we continue to address sustainable practices in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, rainwater harvesting and storm water management and conservation.
We strive to improve these aspects of our properties as a commercial property owner and self storage operator in line with changing environmental legislation and our own commercial objectives.
Operational store energy consumption
Our properties’ predominant energy consumption is grid electricity for lighting, elevators, general power, heating, cooling and ventilation. These cause indirect off-site power station carbon emissions.
The following initiatives have reduced our properties’ electricity consumption:
- Motion-sensitive lighting at all properties. We fit these at optimum distances to reduce the number of fittings and the energy consumed.
- LED light fittings are installed inside and outside all new properties, and retrofitted onto existing ones. LED light fittings save up to 60% of consumption compared to standard fittings.
- Solar panelled hot water cylinders are installed to heat water in the retail stores and security offices at many properties.
- Each month, we prepare and review a detailed analysis to assess energy consumption across the portfolio, with exceptions timeously dealt with through active management.
Photovoltaic (solar) systems
We were the first self storage property owner in South Africa to install solar technology for three-phase power generation. Stores now fitted with these systems include Durbanville and Tokai in the Western Cape, and Johannesburg City and Midrand in Gauteng. The PV systems installed at these four properties have rendered electricity consumption savings in line with what was projected for each system as part of our phase one roll-out. We have now identified an additional 16 properties as part of a phase two roll-out, which will increase the combined systems’ capacity to c. 670 kW. These new systems are scheduled to be installed in the 2020 financial year.
Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and storage of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off into the storm water system. It provides an independent water supply during the summer months, and can be used for irrigation and to substitute the municipal supply when necessary.
As many of our properties provide the benefit of significant roof space, we have installed these systems at 17 locations across the portfolio.
At our head office in Claremont, Cape Town, water is supplied by rainwater harvested from the roof as well as via a borehole situated below the basement-level parking garage. These natural sources provide sufficient capacity to permanently supply the property – and its estimated 60 employees – with the necessary water required to service our washing and ablution facilities. This is a significant contribution to the water-saving efforts being made in this region. Other initiatives to supplement and conserve the municipal water supply include the pumping and storing of ground water for irrigation purposes at three properties, borehole installations at two properties and tap aerators being installed at all 16 properties in the Western Cape.
Storm water management and conservation
We have incorporated permeable paving into our external civil engineering design at a number of our properties.
Permeable paving is qualitatively different from traditional paving methods in that water is treated on-site before being discharged into both the natural groundwater table and storm water system.
At Stor-Age we strive to make a sustainable difference. Recognising our role as a responsible member of the broader community, and in line with our core value of Relevance, we aim to improve our tenants’ and employees’ lives, as well as the lives of people in the communities in which we operate.
Our medium-term objective is to continue focusing our resources on fewer but larger projects. We recognise the importance of being an active member of our local communities, and we encourage our employees at the property level to develop close links with charities, schools, sports clubs and local interest groups.
Highlights of these initiatives include:
Santa Shoebox Project
This is the seventh consecutive year that Stor-Age has partnered with the Santa Shoebox Project. Read more about this in the case study.
Stor-Age is also providing a bursary to a postgraduate student at the University of Cape Town for the 2019 academic year. The bursary was awarded to a previously disadvantaged female student who is studying towards a BSc (Honours) in Property Studies. This initiative supports socio-economic development in the property sector.
Wupperthal and Overstrand fires
In December 2019, a devastating fire caused extensive damage to the historical town of Wupperthal in the Western Cape and left over 200 people homeless. Stor-Age worked alongside community organisations to encourage the donation of much-needed everyday items through a social media campaign and by opening all Stor-Age stores as drop-off locations. This campaign was highly successful, with several self-storage units filled to capacity with donations. We then arranged for these items to be delivered to the Wupperthal community.
Similarly, when fires extensively damage the Overstrand region in January 2019, we opened our stores and collected and distributed donations to affected communities.
We believe that Stor-Age is a person: it has its own energy, thoughts, feelings and a personality. It reacts to certain things in certain ways, just as you and I do. We believe that every single one of our people contributes to the “person” that is Stor-Age. We believe that all our people play a part in shaping its collective persona through our own thoughts and actions.
Gavin Lucas CEO
Employee learning and development
Stor-Age is committed to employee development through effective learning and training opportunities. Our learning and development framework identifies 10 areas for intervention for head office and store-based operations employees.
We have developed a range of training courses which are delivered in various modes.
- Our e-learning framework, Edu-Space, enables our employees to receive training and assessment simultaneously online across all our locations.
- Our learning capability was supported during the year by the engagement of LinkedIn Learning, an on-demand e-learning platform.
- We offer face-to-face workshops and refresher courses at our four purpose-built training venues.
- Where appropriate, specific and individual training is offered to employees. Our core training programme is complemented by management and leadership development programmes which are delivered in-house and by external service providers.
In addition to contributing to the social and ethical aspects of better business practice, customer surveys are a key driver of the learning and development programmes administered to employees. Engaging customers through this medium has enabled this crucial stakeholder group to influence Stor-Age’s employee practices and processes directly and in a meaningful manner.
Performance management and support
Comprehensive job descriptions set out every employee’s role within the business and the competencies required to deliver value in their roles. Our annual performance and personal development reviews facilitate formal assessment and feedback to all employees by their immediate line managers. A key outcome of this process is the identification of an individual’s primary training, learning and development needs to ensure effective performance.
We provide fully funded life, disability and funeral assistance cover through an insurance policy to all our store-based employees, while our internally facilitated Medical Aid Scheme (Momentum Health) and our Group Retirement Annuity (Allan Gray) have steadily grown in participation.
|*||The above information applies to the group’s South African business.|
Face-to-face training highlights
LEARNING and DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
In line with our core value of Sustainability, Stor-Age aims to make a real contribution to the economy of South Africa and, in the process, achieve sustainable transformation objectives aligned with broad-based black economic empowerment legislation.
In the year prior, the board engaged with various consultants and committed significant resources at a senior management level to thoroughly understand the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, the Property Sector Transformation Charter and the Amended Property Sector Codes (gazetted on 9 June 2017). The culmination of our efforts enabled us to finalise a detailed and rolling three-year Transformation Plan, which became effective in April 2018. This Transformation Plan is critical to us aiming to achieve compliance with the Property Sector Code.
We have a number of other employee-focused initiatives in place to boost employee engagement.
Our year-end review is an ideal opportunity to develop and enhance our business culture. By bringing together all employees from across the country, everyone is able to share their experiences with Stor-Age as a business in a relaxed and informal setting. Coupled with fostering new partnerships and sharing best practices, the year-end review is a key contributor to the ethos and personality of the business.
To improve our employee value proposition, extensive research was conducted to source the leading medical aid for our employees. Accordingly, Momentum Health was selected as the medical aid best suited to our company profile. We also selected gap cover from Sanlam, which was voted as the best comprehensive gap cover in the South African market in 2019.
We recognise that wellness is an integral part of driving productivity and retaining skilled talent as it creates a supportive environment. As part of our ongoing wellness initiative, we will launch a healthcare benefit in 2020 that aims to promote a healthy lifestyle, increase awareness and enable our staff to take control of their well-being. It will also leverage internal communication channels and incentives to encourage our employees to make better use of the various health and wellness services available to them.
Despite being a decentralised business, we leverage our sophisticated operational platform to facilitate the sharing of ideas and connect our people in real time.
Our intranet boasts high levels of participation by our in-store employees, providing a transparent platform on which they can make improvement suggestions to enhance our internal operating standards and business practices. Once logged, management provides timeous feedback on all suggestions, including actions to implement where relevant. While often simple, these suggestions can have a sizeable impact on our business and improve efficiency. The platform also contributes towards improved employee productivity and ensures our people feel heard and taken care of – a testament to our non-hierarchical structure and commitment to our core values.
Other initiatives include our anonymous employee surveys, conducted twice a year, with two highlights being that more than 95% of staff are proud to be part of the Stor-Age team; and that they understand how their job aligns with the company’s vision and mission. The feedback assists us to create a positive workplace environment and ensure our employees’ days are more productive and rewarding. In addition, we run an employee gift programme to acknowledge important milestones in our employees’ lives, such as when they get married or engaged, as well as Draw-Age, which is our monthly lucky draw.
To control our risk and ensure high levels of health and safety (as well as our own standards) are maintained, we implement and manage stringent guidelines that include courtesy procedures.
HEALTH, SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE
Stor-Age is committed to compliance in the following areas:
- Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA Part A and Regulations Part B)
- Basic Conditions of Employment Act
- Labour Relations Act
- Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act
- Skills Development Act
- Employment Equity Act
- Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act
- Property Sector Transformation Charter
- Amended Property Sector Codes
The relevant charts are displayed in a common area accessible to all employees at the head office and in all stores. Health and safety representative/s are appointed as required by OHSA to meet regularly and make relevant recommendations to management.
Stor-Age endeavours to ensure safe conditions and premises for customers, tenants and employees, including but not limited to:
- Housekeeping and general cleanliness
- Emergency evacuations
- Working electrical systems
- Safe and working machinery
- Hazardous chemicals
- Roadworthy, timeously serviced company vehicles
Stor-Age endeavours to ensure that the following items are not stored by tenants:
- Toxic pollutants or contaminated goods
- Firearms, ammunitions or explosives
- Radioactive materials
- Hazardous goods
- Living plants or animals
- Food or perishable goods
- Cash and securities
- Illegal goods
Stor-Age holds regular risk assessments to take steps to eliminate risks; take and manage or enforce precautionary measures where necessary; and train or educate all employees accordingly. Systems of evidence are maintained at head office and in all stores.
An example of our commitment to workplace health and safety is our nationwide, same-day, same-time fire drills (across all properties and including head office).
Training for this project was initially carried out using our Edu-Space e-learning platform. The fire drills are now the responsibility of a dedicated project leader who oversees this practice quarterly. Results are documented, submitted to head office and reviewed. Improvement recommendations are then implemented as required. This enables us to benchmark our performance and strive for continuous improvement.
To discuss other aspects of workplace health and safety and track and monitor performance, quarterly meetings are conducted across the portfolio.
This enables us to identify any new risks or opportunities and improve our operating standards and training modules on our Edu-Space platform so that we can exceed excellence in workplace health and safety.
Particular and specific policies and procedures are distributed and followed, covering the following topics and issues:
- Health and safety representatives
- High-risk equipment/machinery/facilities – lifts and hoists
- Complementary removal van service
- Diesel generators
- Contractor entry and exit logs
- Medical emergencies and first-aid training
- Fire safety and related training
- Evacuation procedures
- Hazardous chemicals
- Incident/accident reporting