A drive across South Africa will bring you into contact with the instantly recognisable brand name Caltex™, one of the country’s top four petroleum brands, with more than 800 service stations nationwide. In point of fact Caltex™ is part of a much bigger entity: Chevron Corporation, the world’s second largest integrated energy company.
Large corporations may seem daunting and devoid of emotion, but on closer inspection, Chevron South Africa is delivering a positive impact on so many lives.
The company operates a crude oil refinery with a name plate production capacity of 100,000 barrels a day. Operating 24/7, it produces petrol, diesel, jet fuel, liquefied gas and other products for South Africa and for export to other African countries.
South Africa is home to nearly a quarter of Chevron’s Caltex® service stations worldwide. These retail outlets sell products such as transportation fuels and axle grease. Chevron South Africa also has interests in a lubricants manufacturing plant in Durban and maintains a laboratory and blending plant there.
A consortium of Black Economic Empowerment shareholders and employees hold 25 percent of Chevron South Africa (Pty) Limited.
The world headquarters for the Corporation are based in San Ramon California, but for South Africa, Cape Town is the focal administrative centre headed up by Martin Donohue, CEO;
“Chevron South Africa has a long track record of contributing to the economy of South Africa while operating safely and protecting the environment,” he states. “Last year the organisation celebrated 100 years of operations in the country, while the Caltex™ brand is 75 years old.
“In 1936, a partnership between Chevron and Texaco created Caltex™ and in 1966, Caltex™ bolstered our standing as a key South Africa investor with the construction of a refinery in Cape Town.”
Since then the Caltex™ brand has cemented its place in the South African psyche, being described as “the jewel in [Chevron’s] crown” by Forbes.
Globally Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading energy companies. With more than 53,000 employees, Chevron subsidiaries conduct business in approximately 180 countries around the world, producing and transporting crude oil and natural gas, refining, marketing and distributing fuels and other energy products.
In South Africa the business has more than 1,500 staff and forms part of the greater Africa-Pakistan-Middle East region. Donohue says that the company has a very targeted recruitment drive:
“Chevron believes in the power of human energy, the value of people, partnership and performance, theses beliefs translate into a strong focus on employee development.
“We fully support and endorse the South African national government’s broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) strategy to redress the imbalances of the past. BBBEE is a key strategic objective at Chevron and we have implemented a strategic model for integrating our empowerment initiatives with our corporate culture and functional strategies.
“We aim to achieve an employment profile that reflects the demographics of our customer base. We place a strong emphasis on capacity building through proactive recruitment, development, coaching and internal promotions of people from designated groups.”
Chevron South Africa believes in using consultation and facilitation expertise to work with line-managers and ensure they have the necessary knowledge and tools required to allow them to select the most appropriate interventions required to close employee skill gaps.
As such, the management structure is split into business units along key business functions – Global Marketing, Global Lubricants, Global Refining and Global Supply and Trading, which are linked together by the Global Services Divisions (Finance, Public and Government Affairs, Human Resources, IT, Legal, Procurement and Auditing).
Chevron South Africa invests in people, partnerships and performance. The company’s social investment program in South Africa promotes sustained economic growth and focuses on three key areas: education, health and economic development.
Consistent investment has made Chevron is a major contributor to the region’s economic growth and its recent partnership with Fruit and Veg City (FVC) promises to bring nutrition and nourishment to the nation. Fruit and Veg City launched roughly 18 years ago with the aim of delivering fresh and healthy fruit and vegetables straight from the market.
With health promotion high on Chevron’s agenda, the two organisations have forged a partnership to create the Freshstop store across South Africa’s petrol station forecourts.
“We have also implemented wide-reaching social investment programmes, including a commitment of US$5-million to the Western Cape Provincial Health Department to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as part of Chevron’s commitment to the Global Fund,” adds Donohue.
“Our social investment program in South Africa promotes real and sustained economic growth. Our social investment spending in South Africa is focused in education and training; health and community developments.
“We support formal education, including preschool and basic adult education. Chevron South Africa encourages community development by promoting arts, culture, good health and community services and we have also provided disaster relief and general assistance to the needy,” he continues.
“Our Social Investment strategy is supported by an Employee Volunteer and Engagement Programme where employees are encouraged to contribute talent, time and resources in order to escalate the reach of Chevron’s social investment programmes within the community.
Caltex runs numerous initiatives that support formal education, including preschool and basic adult education. In partnership with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), the company sponsors the Caltex/SAIIA Interschools Quiz in Cape Town – a competition that brings together high school students from diverse communities in the Western Cape province to test their awareness of international affairs, how these developments affect South Africa’s foreign and domestic policies, and the country’s role in our rapidly changing world.
“This quiz, like our other education initiatives, is part of our Energy for Learning® program,” Donohue affirms.
The company also funded the renovation and restocking of the Inkwenkwezi Secondary School library located in the Du Noon community, close to the Cape Town refinery.
The Du Noon Community Home-Based Care Centre has also benefited from Caltex, which provides home care visits and basic meals for homebound people living with HIV/AIDS. Better nutrition can make antiretroviral treatments more effective and improve patients’ overall health.
“We also support the Amy Biehl Foundation as it offers children from impoverished communities hope for a brighter future. Programs provide educational and cultural activities that help young people cope with negative influences in their daily lives, such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, gangs, violence and crime” says Donohue.
Investment in communities does of course have a two-way benefit and the Cape Town Refinery has started a basic trade skills program in conjunction with the Northlink Training College and Emprotrain.
“Together we train about 200 men and women per year from the Du Noon Township and other nearby communities in basic trade skills and provide “learnerships”—similar to apprenticeships—that provide skills useful in refinery work,” Donohue describes.
Chevron South Africa continues to play an important role in the lives of so many South Africans; such commitment looks sure to lay the foundations for another century of success; “We remain committed to South Africa and will continue to market our brands and supply business partners with the full range of products and services.
“Chevron’s continued presence in SA is consistent with our downstream strategy of improving base business returns and growing selectively, with a focus on integrated value creation. In South Africa we are focused on optimising our businesses in order to deliver stronger competitive performance and return on investment” Donohue concludes.