By Charndré Emma Kippie
Heloise Mgcina is a seasoned Marketer with over 20 years in the industry, spanning across multiple industries from Telecoms to Professional Services and Banking, and more recently Property. During her career she has specialised in Sponsorships, Brand Management and Digital Marketing. Heloise is a strategic thinker with a passion for data-led insights that drive creative thinking and new strategies. She is also passionate about consumer behaviour and continues to challenge herself and her team at Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) to think differently. Heloise is a member of the Marketing Committee for SA REIT Association, and a Liberty Two Degrees Exco member.
She is a people person and supports diverse and inclusive environments that provide the best opportunity for everyone to be visible and thrive. She is also continuously improving her knowledge and expertise on all things related to ESG reporting to deliver long-term sustainable value for investors.
Please provide a brief outline of your background.
I have a track record of over 20 years in Marketing and Communications with expertise in brand management, digital marketing, sponsorship management and strategic communication.
I’ve worked across several industries including Telecommunications, Professional Services and Banking and on multiple brands such as Vodacom, Procter & Gamble and WesBank.
I joined Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) in January 2020. My role entails strategically positioning the L2D brand in the market, while providing insights and direction across the portfolio. I’m a passionate Marketing and I enjoy fully immersing myself in the brands I’m responsible for.
I was also appointed to lead our Transformation strategy and more recently our ESG reporting. I’m grateful for this opportunity to expand my expertise as I’ve developed a keen interest in both over the course of my career. My passion for this was sparked by the possibility of affecting positive and impactful change for all stakeholders.
I love (and miss) travelling, but I’m happiest when spending quality time with family and friends.
Please tell us a bit about L2D.
Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) is an internally managed, precinct focused Real Estate Investment Trust (“REIT”) that co-owns a quality iconic property portfolio of South African assets that are primarily retail focused.
L2D is focused on continuously improving the quality of its assets, and introducing innovative and unique experiences that attract tenants, shoppers, and visitors.
L2D is passionate about operational excellence and staying abreast of property and leisure trends to cater to the ever-changing needs of customers which makes its assets dominant in their precincts. L2D plays a vital role in society, and cares about their surrounding communities, society, and minimising the impact on the environment, which is addressed through several meaningful and innovative initiatives.
What does your role entail?
I am the Marketing and Communications Executive and Head of ESG. I also look after Transformation.
What does ‘Sustainability’ mean to you?
I agree with the definition that Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources.
Why are you passionate about ESG initiatives?
I’m passionate about creating a shared value for all stakeholders and a focus on people and planet and not only profit. ESG has a growing role to play in corporations and communities as an evaluation of our collective conscientiousness for social and environmental factors. I’m passionate about the active contribution of society to environmental, societal and governance issues as opposed to box ticking to meet the scorecard requirements.
What important trends have you witnessed in the last year in terms of Sustainability in SA?
- The growth in the voices of customers and specifically the youth in terms of more transparency to sustainability issues.
- The growing focus and requirement of investors on companies to report on ESG elements. Investors are increasingly applying these non-financial factors as part of their investment process to assess material risk and possible opportunities.
- The increase in the use of technology to minimise our impact on the environment, e.g. the use of Teams as a meeting platform which has cut down on travelling to the office for meetings, a necessity brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- A move towards renewable energy to rapidly move away from burning fossil fuels, to a far more sustainable approach to generate electricity.
- Waste management – Companies have taken to reducing their waste to landfill and integrating this into their policies and procedures, integrating recycling mechanisms to achieve this. There’s also the growth in the circular economy for plastic waste and ensuring this is addressed along the value chain in South Africa to increase sustainable practices and create an integrative approach.
- A lot of the retailers have understood the importance of eliminating plastic, and have agreed to provide customers with more sustainable and biodegradable options to carry their goods, replacing plastic shopping bags with these alternatives.
- Water scarcity is a known problem in our country, companies are integrating water saving initiatives into their operations.
What are some of your favourite milestones that you’ve achieved in your career thus far?
There are many highlights and exciting initiatives that I’ve been fortunate to be part of which, I guess, is par for the course in Marketing. However, my stand-out moments have been whenever I’ve been acknowledged and recognised for my efforts, loyalty, and commitment. I always encourage people to put up their hands to do more and learn more, most times with no initial reward. This philosophy has served me well, created great exposure, and positioned me well to take up the opportunities that have come my way.
Do you have any good recommendations for books on Sustainability?
I read a report by the PwC titled Sustainability Reporting tips. Simple actions to make your reporting more accessible and effective. It suggests an integrated reporting model and proposes a way forward for companies to be competitive in their reporting.
If you could solve one ESG-related problem in the world, what would it be, and why?
I would look to highlight the urgency in ensuring that we enable an environment that future generations will thrive in, addressing the impact on the natural environment and addressing social inequality. Corruption and unethical conduct is one of the biggest inhibitors to development on all levels, tackling governance issues would also be in the forefront.
Do you have any words of inspiration to get the youth more involved with Sustainability efforts?
Greta Thundberg is a great inspiration for the youth. I’m fond of the following quotes:
- On impact: “I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.”
- On intention: “The moment we decide to fulfil something, we can do anything.”
My personal message would be: The future is in your hands; you can choose to be part of building a well-rounded and sustainable future or you could watch it be taken away from you.
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