“Driving Transformation” is one of six action points that are regarded as non-negotiables by the Sea Harvest Group. It, essentially, means that the Group considers its commitment to transforming society a matter on which it will not compromise. Sea Harvest actually has a long history of involvement in local communities and activities that promote social upliftment and empowerment, specifically, in the Saldanha Bay municipal area, which has been the home of its operations for almost 60 years.
Sea Harvest Operations Director, Terence Brown, who is also Chairperson of the Sea Harvest Foundation (Not for Profit Company), has stated that companies can no longer be solely focused on creating wealth, adding that it is incumbent on every responsible corporate citizen to consider how it spends its money in order to demonstrate care for its employees and the communities in and around which it operates. Since 1998, the Sea Harvest Foundation has been used as a vehicle through which Sea Harvest has tried to drive social change by directing a portion of the wealth it creates towards projects that benefit, uplift and empower South Africans in communities on the Cape west coast. Today, the Foundation is a registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) that continues to invest in several communities.
However, Sea Harvest doesn’t only drive transformation through the activities of its Foundation. It also drives transformation by adopting policies and programmes that tackle social ills and promote the economic welfare of communities. This includes its employee wellness programme, skills and youth development programmes, and various other initiatives to support local businesses, especially black-owned businesses. In 2019, Sea Harvest and its majority shareholder, Brimstone Investment Corporation, launched a R100 million fund to support small, medium and macro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) involved in the fishing industry, as well as small-scale fishers and their communities in South Africa’s four coastal provinces.
Sea Harvest Group CEO, Felix Ratheb, said in a 2019 media interview that, over the past 15 years, the company has deliberately structured its growth on the central tenet that historically disadvantaged individuals (HDIs) should stand to benefit from everything it does. He explained that, from shareholding and employment to procurement and corporate social investment, Sea Harvest’s overall aim was to promote black empowerment within the South African fishing industry. It is no surprise, therefore, that the Group is a Level 1 broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) contributor in terms of the Department of Trade and Industry’s B-BBEE scorecard and is about 83% black-owned.