“The greatest threat to our planet is that someone else will save it.”

Since coming back from the most awesome adventure to Cederberg mountains (which requires its own post soon), I’ve been studying corporate governance, business ethics and managing sustainability. I’m so fascinated by this that I’ve found a new passion towards large businesses. After all, besides governments, they are the most impactful institutions we have on earth. Change how things are done there and you know you’ll make a positive impact on the world. As long as my work involves human resources development & talent management, aligning operations to be highly ethical and sustainable, I can totally see myself working for a corporation. Excited for what the future brings…

Integrated reporting = holistic and integrated presentation of the company’s performance in terms of both its finance and its sustainability

Components and focus areas of corporate governance:

  1. Ethical leadership

– Responsible corporate citizenship

– Ethics management

  1. Boards and directors

– Integrated view of strategy, risk, performance and sustainability

– Chairperson must be independent and non executive

– Appoint CEO

– Majority of non-execs on board and to be independent

– Competent secretary

-Annual evaluation of board, committees and individuals

– Compensation fairly

  1. Audit committees

– Skilled and independent non-execs, chaired by independent non-exec

– Oversees integrated reporting, internal and external audit

– Reports to the board and shareholders

  1. Governance of risk

– Determine levels of risk tolerance

– Delegate risk management to management

– Continual risk assessments and monitoring

– Risk disclosure to stakeholders

  1. Governance of IT

– Monitor and evaluate IT investment and expenditure

– IT to be integrated with risk management

– IT to be aligned with performance and sustainability objectives

  1. Compliance

– Compliance with all applicable laws

– Compliance risk to be integrated with risk management

– To be delegated to management

  1. Internal audit

– Effective risk-based internal audit

– Assessment of effectiveness of internal controls and risk management

  1. Stakeholders

– Perceptions affect on reputation

– Stakeholder management to be delegated to management

– Equitable treatment of stakeholders: protection of minority stakeholders

– Transparent and effective communication

  1. Integrated reporting

– Financial and sustainability reporting to be integrated

Levels of business ethics

Systemic – What is the most ethical economic system? Capitalism vs socialism

At a macro level, ethics are influenced by the wider operating environment in which the company exists. Factors such as political pressures, economic conditions, societal attitudes to certain businesses, and even business regulation can influence a company’s operating standards and policies.

Industry – How does the industry behave?

Different industries have their own set of ethical standards.

Company – How does my company behave?

At a company or corporate level, ethical standards are embedded in the policies and procedures of the organization, and form an important foundation on which business strategy is built. These policies derive from the influences felt at macro level and therefore help a business to respond to changing pressures in the most effective way.

Individual – How do I behave?

Since businesses are run by people, the ethical standards of individuals in the business are an important consideration. Management needs to be able to align individual ethics with corporate ethics.

“I just want to have a completely adventurous, passionate, weird life.”

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I cannot remember a weekend, which I did not spend in Cape Town. Though Stellenbosch is a wonderful town for everyday life, being convenient, safe and full of lovely restaurants and uni facilities, it gets boring for a big city girl/guy. I love city vibes. Cities are my thing. Though my dream is to one day live in a society where all food is grown and consumed locally and free of toxic, I have admit that I so far feel most alive in a big city. Like New York, Hong Kong, London, Cape Town… Helsinki, of course. Another contradiction in my vision…. Where to live, in a cozy laid-back town by the beach and nature or city with great vibes? Oh well, I have time to sort it out and try different places.
We’ve been fortunate to stay at friends’ or cousins’ places in CT.  After Friday night visit in UCT’s tennis club party, on Saturday morning we headed to Blouberg Strand. Enjoyed a breakfast at Paul’s terrace, dressed our wetsuits and got boards and headed to the ocean. Right now this is my concept of a perfect day. Among the waves, trying to catch one and learn to surf, next to the breathtaking view of Table Mountain.
Later that night we headed for dinner to Black Sheep. Strong recommendation! I will take all my visitors here later that is for sure. Such New York vibes and oh my heaven the food. The decision was perhaps toughest so far, but luckily I nailed it with my ostrich. I’ve never been a huge meat eater earlier, but here I would never try to resist it. Most of the meet we get here is simply so tasty. Ostrich, beef, kudu, lamb, wildebeest springbok… You name it, I’ll try it. Pam also claims the chocolate brownie to be the best in town, despite the tough competition 😀 After dinner, we headed to Tjing Tjing, a great cocktail bar and another spot where I’ll take visitors. Followed by a visit to Village Idiot, which seems to be my usual Saturday spot these days.
On Sunday we could feel the drinks from last night and the day proceeded accordingly. 😀  Waking up late at Newlands, driving around the suburbs to find something to eat, ended up for burgers. Back to Pam’s cousins’ place and A & I took a walk to buy ice cream and cake from Melissa’s food shop. The Newlands suburbs are so beautiful. Could imagine living here. We then drove back to Stellenbosch. Chocolate ice cream and huge piece of carrot cake did the magic for me and I felt better again.
It really is so good to escape every now and then from where you spend most of your days. After an exciting weekend, you feel energised to start a new week at home.

 

“Education is the most powerful tool which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

The most challenging thing, for me, in South Africa has been to witness the inequality of people. It was 60 years ago, 1948, when the Whites-only National Party first won control of the South African government and passed the apartheid (meaning apart-hood) legislation. Apartheid laws established superiority of Whites, who comprised only 20 percent of the population, over Blacks, who made up other 80 percent. The apartheid system deprived the entire Black population of all political and civil rights: They could not vote, not hold political office, not unionise, and had no right to freedom of assembly. Blacks had to live in racially segregated areas, they were paid incredibly discriminatory wages, they could not intermarry with Whites nor supervise Whites, they had to attend separate, inferior schools, use separate bathrooms and entrances, eat in separate dining rooms. They were prohibited of socialising with Whites.
It has been only 20 years since the End of Apartheid. The inequality is still visible. Only in the next few years, the first generation of Blacks with a university degree is about to graduate and enter the educated employer market. Townships still reside millions of people in the country. These areas are not considered safe and thus White people should keep away. Public transportation is not safe either. It feels crazy for a Finn that simply your race makes such a big difference on how you are perceived as a person, what kind of treatment and assumptions are made. I need to be so much more cautious than ever in the countries I’ve previously lived, but at the same time I realise so much more powerfully than before, how privileged world citizen I am.
This makes me constantly question my right for such a prosperous life. As a Western European, many of us have the chance to live, study and travel around the world… Surely, I’ve worked my way to receive these opportunities back home. But I realise strongly how much easier “working your way for opportunities” is in Finland compared to such a huge part of the world. Further, I will surely contribute for the welfare of my home country by paying taxes, but again I question if it is being blinded or irresponsible of not contributing in a wider context. Could I work towards distributing such opportunities beyond my home country? How can I help people with not such privileges?
At times, it makes me feel helpless to know that I cannot help everyone here. On the other hand, I’m happy to witness the inequality, rather than being blinded and never traveling outside the wealthy Scandinavia, where no one is left on the street or to hunger. Although consuming in a way the locals could never consume, I often question if we deserve this. But then again, isn’t it better to consume in this country in particular and thus distribute income to the society? For me, it comes down to conscious consumption – I want to make sure to distribute resources to small, local entrepreneurs rather than international chains. This is something, besides endless other things, that I love about South Africa – there’s so many unique, local services, rather than international chains. I recall that in Philippines it was almost impossible to avoid international chains. As it is simply impossible to help everyone, it can be the small gestures that matter. I feel a tiny bit better being able to give a “generous” tip to locals providing services. Also giving occasionally a ride to our lovely maid to the train station (so far away the privileged ones could not ever do by feet) makes me happy, when she is happy. My mom asked if she can bring some ‘cool’ European clothes to her three kids – of course! And finally, at least now I know where to come later on in life, if I then have the chance to contribute financially more than now.
I have to say that despite the unsafety of the country, I cannot but admire the happiness and kindness of most locals, despite the race. I want to engage as much as I can with locals and learn their stores.

“It’s an amazing thing when you finally settle in to knowing you’ll never fit in. Keep standing out. Keep showing the crowd what beautifully flying free is all about.”

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After a week of feeling a bit lonely while my friends were traveling and me obligated to attend uni, the weekend was luckily completely opposite. Thanks to my local friend Arno, we kicked off Saturday morning efficiently by an AM run at the mountains, and quick gym afterwards. South Africans seem to have an early, sporty rhythm compared to us international students… Which I like –  felt so good having done run & gym & shower by 10AM on a weekend!

Later we headed to Cape Town with Nico. I then headed for dinner with Maria to 95 Keerom – an Italian restaurant with great food, especially meat and wine. The owner is same as of Carne  – both are well worth a visit while in CT. Our night continued at Orphange and Village Idiot with the guys & Florentine, who had just before landed from their travels. Ah how I had missed these peeps.

On Sunday, the first day of Summer to me, we headed to Clifton beach. The views of mountains, clear water and city vibes keep amazing me… Later we watched the sunset at Maria’s roof. I could’ve stared this view forever. Later we had a reunion with Pam and Florentine who picked me up and we shared a dinner, catching up of everyone’s adventures during the past days. Pam bungee jumped from the highest bridge in South Africa. She did it with such a confidence based on the video – one brave girl 🙂 So much had I missed these girls! We headed back to Stellenbosch and I still catches up with another recently arrived traveller… Was so good to get you back peeps!

xxx

“It feels good to be lost in the right direction”

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I know myself well enough by now to know that I crave adventures. New places, new people, new adventures. I need to be physically active to feel alive. I crave people around me who stimulate my mind, inspire and challenge my views. Encourage me to pursue my dreams. That is what drives me as well – inspiring others.
This week was emotionally though. I felt homesick for the first time 🙂 It was because my closed ones were out of town, and due to my differing MBA calendar I couldn’t travel with them. I also learned that the combination of working long shifts in a restaurant and trying to keep up with all the work MBA requires is mentally and physically challenging. I also want to put my time more in sports, in my relationships and EXPLORING, new adventures. Thus, work will have to go for now.
We are off to Cape Town now with Nico, my roommate. Plan is to explore Woodstock, meet up with the guys landing from Durban, have a nice dinner, go to a jazz club and continue to Village Idiot. Tomorrow hopefully it is time to hit the beach.
P.S. If anyone else feels stuck or not inspired, I advice you to take time for yourself. Hike on a mountain, go to the beach, or find yourself from a spacious and scenic wine estate… Of course depending your location – point is, get to the nature. xxx

I like to surround myself with creative people. They love life in such a contagious way that is often hard to put into words.

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The past week I
– Served my first tables at Rust En Vrede. Best part of my job are the conversations with customers who have without exceptions been lovely so far. I especially love hearing their stories from Scandinavia and tell them more about Finland (Northern Lights is a hot topic)
– Gave my strategic consultation whether implementing another production line was a wise choice or not for the brand Double O  😉 One of my advise is naturally that consumer behaviour is shifting away from soft drinks into healthier options – U.S. serves as a great example where decline in demand has continued now 10 years in row. It is only matter of time when African consumers become more conscious consumers as well
– Ditched studies for few hours to enjoy a romantic afternoon date in the Botanical Garden, hidden in the middle of Stellenbosch Uni campus
– Had an amazing steak dinner in Carne in Cape Town. Simply an unique experience for people who appreciate great service and meat. PJ and I shared 5 different kinds of African birds and lamb ravioli with fries, broccoli, spinach, salad, mushroom sauce…. And though the food is better than you can dream of, the chocolate fondant with ice cream is actually my favourite dish. Description cannot be put to words.
– Danced all night on Thursday night in a house party with 100 of our closest friends. I can’t believe I didn’t know these people less than 6 weeks ago.
– Sweated my ass off twice at hot yoga
– Spent a relaxing Saturday at Spier Wine Estate with PJ. She went to see TedX talks, I sat on a bridge over a river and enjoyed the pleasure of not having to do absolutely anything
– Partied all night in Cape Town with roomies. We went to Orphanege and Village Idiot, which became perhaps my favourite bar ever. Great vibes and felt like being back in New York
– Hangover drive to Hout Market with a convertible, passing Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and along the beautiful coastline of Cape Town. What a beautiful city
– Enjoyed my first home cooked meal in South Africa by PJ’s cousin – so delicious I decided it’s time for me to start using our lovely kitchen at home 😉
 Can’t wait what this week will bring… Have a great one lovelies ❤