The impact of climate change and social inequality has become more and more evident, highlighting the need for common cause, understanding and purpose.
We recognise that people are the enabler of our business and a critical resource that needs to be empowered. As a Group that serves virtually all industry sectors, it is our responsibility to ensure that we contribute to the success of our host nations. We use the United Nation’s 17 SDGs, which provide a comprehensive definition of sustainability, as a guideline. We identified the SDGs that are most relevant to us: Good health and wellbeing; Gender equality; Decent work and economic growth; Industry, innovation and infrastructure; and Responsible consumption and production. Using these SDGs as guidelines, we are able to assess the impact we are making, through our basket of services and goods as well as our operations and corporate citizenship activities.
In FY2021, Bidvest established an ESG Framework which is a culmination of our sustainability ambitions, focused on the areas where we can make the biggest difference with specified targets and metrics. These medium-term targets were used to determine specific ESG performance hurdles in the incentive scorecards. The consistent, focused attention on six key metrics yielded great momentum and results during FY2022.
Looking ahead, there is more to be done. As one of the largest employers in SA where inequality and unemployment is widespread, we are contemplating an emphasis, through a greater weighting, on the social component, both from a people and broader socio-economic perspective, of sustainability in incentive scorecards from FY2024 onwards.
Social: Caring for the Bidvest family and driving positive change through partnerships and social dialogue
ESG Commitment to Health & Equality
Environment: Conduct profitable business in a responsible and accountable manner
In line with SDGs aimed at affordable and clean energy and climate action, the Group is focused on energy and water efficiency, responsible waste management, and innovative solutions to aid customer sustainability.
Bidvest’s environmental footprint is largely concentrated in its Freight operations, Bidair Cargo, laundries and the businesses with extensive operational networks, which collectively represent the vast majority of Group emissions and water usage.
Governance: Doing the right thing even when no one else is looking
Bidvest has a deeply entrenched functional governance structure that places significant reliance on the ethical behaviour of all employees. This places a very high hurdle of responsibility and accountability on everyone. Rather than having many policies and manuals, we have a Code of Ethics that sets out our behaviour. When someone missteps, decisive action is taken, and communicated back into the business. An authority matrix forms the backbone of day-to-day governance.
Formal reporting structures complement business-level processes that result in dynamic and iterative risk assessments and mitigation actions. Relevant management and executive committees have been structured into each of the seven divisions. These in turn report into divisional boards, represented by the divisional exco as well as representatives from Bidvest’s corporate office executives. Matters from these divisional board meetings are escalated further to the Exco, which is attended by the Group directors and functional executives (covering strategy, M&A, finance, transformation, ESG, business development) as well as the seven divisional CEOs. The three executive directors in turn report into the main Group board of directors, directly or through the established committees.
ALICE, the Group’s autonomous, intelligent capability robot, has become embedded in the operations of each of the environments across the Group as our governance mindset has shifted from annual audit, risk and compliance reviews to continuous monitoring of their control environments.