THE BECK FAMILY LEGACY
Chris du Toit Graham Beck Enterprises CEO fondly remembers his discussions with the late Rhona Beck – wife of founder Graham Beck and inspirational matriarch of this pioneering South African wine industry family. “She was passionate about so many things – the arts, culture, conservation and the environment, but first and foremost about empowering and uplifting our employees and the broader Robertson community,” explains Chris. The Beck family has created a lasting legacy of building a better future for and with the people they interact with, whether that is within their business model or on a basic human level. “Rhona would always pose the question: how do we develop our people, each and every individual to their full potential? The need could be as simple as providing basic literacy skills, aftercare for the children or health care, or as focused as carving out a specific career path for an individual,” says Chris. With this in mind the family has structured their commitment to the objective of sustainability (whether it be in profit, people or the planet i.e. business, staff development and farming in harmony with nature) not based on legislative requirements or to have a triple bottom-line to impress, but because they sincerely believed it was the right thing to do.
The legacy of “apartheid” in South Africa demands a very different approach from normal first world countries. It requires healing, nurturing, coaching and supporting to build dignity, self-respect and the ability to be independent. The Beck Family commitment has at its cornerstone the following Social and Ethical Philanthropic Trusts: The Graham and Rhona Beck Foundation, The Clive Beck Educational Trust and The Graham & Rhona Beck Development Trust (which spearheads the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Centre and all Graham Beck Enterprises’ Conservation Projects, such as The Conservation Management Plan which has inspired neighbouring farms to follow suit with regards to biodiversity initiatives and rehabilitation of the natural environment).