+27 11 832-1743/2 info@bench-marks.org.za

EXPLORE MORE ABOUT BENCH MARKS FOUNDATION

To promote a culture of ethical investments in the churches and faith communities. To monitor multinational corporations operating in Southern Africa and the rest of the African continent to ensure that they meet minimum social, environmental and economic standards. To promote an ethical and critical voice on what constitutes corporate social responsibility

 Ideas and ambitions of the Bench Marks Foundation

From the beginning, the Bench Marks Foundation can truly be counted as one of the first organisations in South Africa that set out to examine corporations from top to bottom on their social, economic and environmental performance within a sustainability framework. We began to work according to an agreed set of principles, criteria, and benchmarks that would measure business social responsibility performance according to the Bench Marks Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility.

These principles were also used as a tool and a standard for behaviour widely regarded internationally.
Equipped with these, over the last 18 years the Foundation has examined the operations and impacts of the mining and extractives sector from evidence-based research approaches by researchers with strong community involvement. These resulted in the publication of thirteen (13) research reports, which are now known as the Policy Gap Series. This series largely focused on mining and was published to national and international acclaim, quoted by governments, academia and various international multilateral organisations such as the United Nations Organisation and the World Bank.

In addition, the Bench Marks Foundation has also collaborated with at least seven international partners in studies about the impacts of mining on people, on the community well being and the environment.
These studies collectively have contributed to knowledge formation. Their publication has been accompanied with advocacy for widespread dissemination with the express purpose of educating the public of our work and the impacts of mining / extractives on our world.

In addition, we have developed programmes based on the research findings with communities living around the mines. Many such communities have started to organise themselves as a result of the interrelationship between knowledge and their concern that something had to be done to improve their lot.

Many of the community activists have over the years began to participate in the Community Monitoring School. The school operating both in South Africa (close to 40 mining communities) and in the subregion of our continent in the following countries: Zambia, Zimbabwe, DRC, Mozambique, Angola, Lesotho, Tanzania, Botswana, Swaziland and Kenya.
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Over the years, the Monitoring School has seen hundreds of activists graduate and as a result have sharpened their skills and abilities in movement building and how to keep corporations and government accountable. These communities have used creative organizing, campaigning and social media to supplement and support the work of the Foundation making its advocacy work more authentic and effective. In addition, the Bench Marks Foundation has over the years made some inroads in influencing the public through their presence in mass media.

Building the power of communities through giving back the research findings is a simple but ethical approach towards bringing about non-violent and democratic change. It is also a critical pillar of addressing the power imbalances between corporations and citizens. The Foundation has also introduced other programmes that seek to redress the deficits of power and knowledge, such as the Corporate Personality Index Test, and the introduction of Independent Grievance Mechanism / Independent Problem Solving Service (IPSS. In addition, the Foundation works with other civil society organizations in various fields of law and mining, climate catastrophe, food sovereignty and corporate accountability. In the Right to Say No, the Foundation has sought to underwrite the importance of democracy (participatory) in doing business in South Africa and internationally. In 2018, the Bench Marks Foundation presented its work as evidence in the historic court case involving the
Amadiba Crisis Community represented by their lawyers Richard Spoor Inc. and the Legal Resources Centre. The court case against the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR)was to stop mining from taking place in Xolobeni on the Wild Coast (Eastern Cape). We are pleased to have been able to contribute towards this court case, which result in a victory as it advanced the rights of mining communities to say no, when they believe mining is destructive and against the public interest.
In addition, the Foundation has assisted in organizing international solidarity for workers and their families following the Marikana Massacre.

The search for bottom up alternatives for mining affected communities has resulted in advocacy campaigns that have taken our organization to approach the papacy, the SAHRC, the African Union, SADC as well as the European Union.

PROGRAMATIC AREAS

To promote a culture of ethical investments in the churches and faith communities. To monitor multinational corporations operating in Southern Africa and the rest of the African continent to ensure that they meet minimum social, environmental and economic standards. To promote an ethical and critical voice on what constitutes corporate social responsibility

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Bench Marks Foundations Brochure

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REGIONAL WORK

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BENCH MARKS FOUNDATION PRINCIPLES

The Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility

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ROLE IN CHURCHES

The Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility

 

Board of Directors

The driving force behind Bench Marks Foundation

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Our Team

The team behind all our success

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