Like most of you, the team behind Nandi are keen animal lovers. But beyond providing our customers and their fur babies with best-in-class natural, grain-free pet treats, Nandi also subscribes to the triple bottom line approach to sustainable business. At our business we look at our performance across three metrics: people, planet and profit. We care deeply about our people and the environment.
South Africa has the highest level of unemployment in the world. 50% of South Africans in their 20s and 30s are unemployed. The Nandi founding team intentionally chose to minimize the automation in its factory to create over 50 jobs for young South Africans who now have a living wage and means to put their children through decent schools. Senior Manager for Sales and Operations Guy Jackson notes, “We’re providing jobs to people without formal education and skills. On the factory floor level anyone can come and work here.” In addition, the Nandi team invests heavily in skills training amongst its staff. Nandi Founder and CEO Nhlanhla Dlamini explains, “Our hope is that our staff will use the Nandi factory as a springboard for further education so they can get higher-paying jobs in their 30s”.
We are happy to report that we have already seen some of these dynamics play out at Nandi. Brian Mphela joined Nandi 2.5 years ago as an entry level factory floor worker. This summer he received a promotion to Operations Manager, responsible for overall production and managing a team of 20 people. We also support our team members to take their newly developed skills elsewhere in the South African economy. Nandi team member Joseph Ndlovu recently accepted a position at the multinational shipper UPS and we are extremely excited for this next step in his career. Jackson explains, “Employment and skills development are very important things for this country. People need an income, but also skills to grow themselves within this company or take those skills on to other companies and empower their households.”
To deliver on our commitment to the environment, the Nandi team chose to go “green” in just our first year of operation even though it cost us more money than using traditional fittings. First, the factory installed a water reticulation system that recycles water several times over before it is pushed out to the municipal water system. Water is the world’s scarcest resource and the Nandi is doing our part to conserve this precious resource. Secondly, Nandi chose to use recycled plastics for most of its packaging to curb plastic waste and pollution. By 2022, Nandi wants to use 100% recyclable packaging for all products. Thirdly, the founding team installed solar panels on its factory roof so 40-60% of our electricity is harnessed from nature without harming the environment. Lastly, Nandi donates all its food scraps (along with some finished products) to local animal shelters and dog rescues to minimize food waste.
At Nandi, we love taking care of your pet by providing delicious, nutritious and sustainable pet treats, but we also take care of our people and planet.