Living up to the expectations embedded in its name, property loan stock company Pareto has gone out of its way to embrace the principle of doing business in a socially responsible manner. Pareto takes its name from classical Italian philosopher Vilfredo Pareto, whose work is the foundation for the 80-20 rule.
Known as the Pareto principle, this metaphysical rule has been adapted to modern income distribution theories, mostly those seeking to achieve the reallocation of economic resources from one group to another without making the former worse off. The principle resonates in the wave of corporate social investment (CSI) programmes sweeping through business.
Pareto's investments in large shopping centres act as a catalyst for the development of lively economic hubs, which create entrepreneurial opportunities, employ multitudes and infuse competitiveness into retail markets.
In the year ended June last year, Pareto's board approved CSI expenditure of R4m. Its CSI funds are spent on projects that seek to develop communities located closer to its various assets -where Pareto has a controlling stake. "Such projects come with an added bonus of developing affinity with our shopping centres," says Pareto CEO Alex Phakathi.
Connected - The firm helped set up a computer centre at Chesterville Extension Secondary School
Examples include an initiative in Chesterville, a township outside Durban. During the 2005/2006 financial year, Pareto played a key role in setting up a computer centre at Chesterville Extension Secondary School. It contributes to the maintenance costs of the centre. Pareto also sponsors the Durban Westville football club. It has committed to constructing a modern education block at the Christopher Nxumalo Higher Primary School in the same township. The company has also donated medical equipment to the Mitchells Plain Hospital in Cape Town.
In its CSI initiatives, Pareto emphasises education and skills development. Its endowment of the Wits University real estate department chair will go a long way to developing skills and transforming the property industry into one that reflects the demographics of the country. The main focus of the chair is promotion of research and increasing the number of black students and lecturers.
Pareto places emphasis on ensuring that the CSI projects it supports are sustainable and as such continues to support the Moletsane Ark in Soweto.