South African Peer Network

The South African Peer Network is a regional community of the global Embedding Project, hosted at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town (GSB UCT).


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Current Projects

We recently published Partnering for Community Resilience: South African Case Studies, which shares five in-depth case studies of companies engaging in partnerships for community resilience in South Africa. We distil the key lessons from these case studies for corporate managers who are planning or implementing partnerships for community resilience.

South African Peer Network partners are also involved in piloting resources from the Contextualized Strategy-making for Sustainability CoP and providing case studies to support the new CoP on Social Context.

Past Resources

  • Business Model Innovation

    Author: Peer Network for Business Sustainability SA
    How can business model innovation contribute to sustainability & shared value? This report introduces business models, shared value creation, and outlines how managers and entrepreneurs can link the two to foster prosperity.
  • CEO Decision Making

    Author: NBS SA, Embedding Project
    Why do some CEOs incorporate sustainability into strategy — and what holds others back? This report outlines influences on CEO decision-making for sustainability and identifis actions for change agents to support their CEOs.

Don’t just take our word for it; read what our partners have to say.

“As a Strategic Change Professional, I know that what I do adds value. I can talk about it, I can describe it, but how do I measure what I’m doing? The Embedding Project provides a measurement – a credibility – to all the sustainable business change work I’m doing.

Our relationship is about learning together. There’s a real sharing and a trust that develops. I underestimated how much I would learn about what Santam needs to do, what we could be doing, what I could be doing by working on the research project. I think there’s tremendous value in the Academic – Practitioner pairing. Our minds are different, so are our styles and what we hear.”

“Ultimately, it saves me time, it’s learning in the fast track with leaders in the field.”

“I also learned a lot from the peers I interacted with. The best way to learn is from mistakes, not successes. And here, you learn not only from your own, but from other people’s mistakes, other people’s long journeys so you can save departmental load, save money, save organizational load and speed up innovation. Ultimately, it saves me time, it’s learning in the fast track with leaders in the field.

My sense is that if I stay alongside the Embedding Project, I’ll be able to learn and subtly adapt my processes over time and stay alongside the leaders in a very time and cost effective way. This is very valuable.”

- Vanessa Otto-Mentz, Head of Group Strategy Unit at Santam

“The Embedding Project helped me understand that in order for a company to be truly sustainable – there are very few “quick wins” or “low hanging-fruit”. Not for the faint of heart, sustainability is a process that needs to touch every aspect of how we operate as a business and requires patient, persistent effort.”

“... break[s] down sustainability into more achievable, tangible, realistic steps.”

“Sustainability initiatives often run the risk of being disconnected from the business or being inherently too general to be impactful. The embedding wheel helps categorize the practices, procedures and principles required to break down “sustainability” into more achievable, tangible, realistic steps. It also gave insight into the prerequisites needed for initiatives to be successful and how to track our progress over time.

Having access to 10 leading Canadian companies to share lessons learned and the pitfalls to avoid added immense value and real community to the 3-year project.”

- Canadian Embedding Project Partner

“The Embedding Project is a major leap forward in thinking and provides useful tools which will help your organization focus on the most relevant sustainability initiatives. Most advice about integrating sustainability into an organization has to date fallen into one of two categories: the latest shiny bobble or the shotgun approach.”

“The Embedding Project is the first compelling methodology to systematically understand the sustainability maturity”

“The Embedding Project is the first compelling methodology to systematically understand the sustainability maturity of your organization and have rational, informed discussions about what initiatives should be prioritized. Beyond a methodology, the Embedding Project has cultivated a diverse and brilliant collection of companies and practitioners who share openly and help each other succeed. At the core of the project are Prof. Bertels and her team, who will inspire you with their depth of knowledge, help you become more efficient and challenge you to go further.”

- Jamie Gray-Donald, VP Sustainability at QuadReal

“Our work with the Embedding Project initiated a review of our approach to embed sustainability within the organization.

“By using the project’s Culture Wheel, our approach to embed sustainability has been much more structured and successful.”
“By using the project’s Culture Wheel, our approach to embed sustainability has been much more structured and successful. Our involvement has also afforded us with the opportunity to hear examples of best practices from companies outside of our industry.

Moving forward, we plan to use the Culture Wheel to systematically measure, benchmark and identify opportunities to further our success to embed sustainability into our organization. I look forward to our continued work with the Embedding Project, helping them to further their goals, as they have helped to further ours.”

- Canadian Embedding Project Partner