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Polar Race 2011

Leave only footprints

Deloitte South Africa’s Sustainability and Climate Change manager, Lee Swan, is the first African-born woman to compete in the Polar Race to the magnetic North Pole.

The Polar Race is a test of endurance, a race of passion and a challenge of inner strength. Known as “probably the world’s toughest race”, it starts from Resolute Bay in the former North West Territories of Canada.  It takes the contestants some 650 km, by ski or foot, across some of the most desolate terrain in the world, until these brave explorers reach the finish line, namely the 1996 certified position of the magnetic North pole.

And one of our own at Deloitte, Lee Swan, is going to compete in this challenge in April 2011.


Who is Lee Swan

Lee Swan is the first African-born woman to have been granted a place in the Polar Race.  As a manager in Deloitte South Africa’s Sustainability and Climate Change team, Swan’s purpose for embarking on this awe-inspiring journey is to highlight the fact that for business, sustainability is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity.

Swan aims to draw attention to the need for a binding regulatory framework on climate change, which will require engagement between business and policy makers.  This expedition takes place just months before the world turns its eyes to South Africa as the host of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Durban in December 2011. For Swan, the timing could not be better to draw attention to the need for a new global deal on climate change, as many agreements in the Kyoto Protocol expire in 2012.

Deloitte has taken a strategic decision to sponsor Lee Swan in her endeavor to become the first African-born woman to participate in the Polar Race.  The sponsorship of Lee was specifically chosen because of her role as a manager in the Sustainability and Climate Change business in Deloitte and for the opportunity for Deloitte and Swan, to raise awareness around this burning topic for our clients.

Swan has prepared for this race for a year.  She will experience 650 km walking across ice and snow in temperatures averaging -40°C to the magnetic North Pole.  The self-navigated and unsupported race takes place every two years and sees the 15 competitors who are chosen from around the world pulling sleds (80kg) with all of their equipment for the duration of the journey.

Sustainability and Climate Change solutions

In the business framework, sustainability and climate change is no longer the sole domain of the sustainability manager or the corporate social responsibility manager. It is taken more seriously by the Boards of companies as sustainability is a core business issue, one that’s here to stay. Beyond financial and legal risks, sustainability and climate change issues can impact a company’s strategy and operations, reputation, brand and overall competitiveness. With so much at stake, it pays to be proactive.

Forward-thinking companies are carefully selecting sustainability strategies and initiatives that are aligned with their business strategy to focus on revenue growth and cost reductions.

Deloitte’s view is that sustainability is not a fad and that a structured and strategic approach is required to avoid unintended consequences.

For further information on Deloitte’s Sustainability and Climate Change service and solutions offerings, please contact:

Shamal Sivasanker
Tel: +27 (0)11 209 6592

Get involved

Lee Swan
Manager - Sustainability and Climate Change

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You can donate any amount online. Click here

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Support Lee in her race and help donate to LEAP Science and Maths school. To donate R5, SMS 'LEAP' to 36626 (VAS rates apply)


Tweet your support! #PolarRace @DeloitteSA


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