Sustainability

We are positive about the future of South Africa and will continue to seek opportunities for expansion and thereby create value where our roots are embedded.

As one of the largest employers in the country, and as a Group that by nature covers virtually all industry sectors, it is our responsibility to ensure that we contribute to the success of our nation. We use the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guideline. The SDGs provide a comprehensive definition of sustainability, ranging from good health and well-being, affordable and clean energy and climate action to quality education, peace, justice and strong institutions. We identified the SDGs that are most relevant to us and assess the impact we are making, through our basket of services and goods as well as our operations and corporate citizenship activities:

Despite a decentralised operating model, we have a unified understanding throughout the Group of what needs to be achieved to ensure ongoing success. We acknowledge a duty to share the value we create and, by so doing, fulfill the responsibility we have to contribute to economic and social development and invest in our people and our environment.

Conducting business in a sustainable manner is therefore integrated into our day-to-day activities. Given the decentralised and varied nature of the businesses, sustainability is managed at business level. From a Group perspective, we identified a set of material issues that are common
throughout our businesses.


Good Health and Well-being

Quality Education

Gender Equality

Affordable and Clean Energy


Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Climate Change

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions



In FY2021, we will be working towards identifying the main contributors to key environmental footprint metrics; how best to measure the environmental impact and set targets for the relevant businesses. A targeted approach is needed, and appropriate, in a diverse group.

Given Bidvest's trading and distribution activities, it is also appropriate to understand our responsibility in order to influence the environmental and social impacts of our suppliers. We will be assessing how we can play our part in improving transparency in this regard.

We recognised that there is always more to do regarding such corporate and industry-wide sustainability efforts and strive to improve each year.

We are committed to a cause that extends beyond financial profits


Caring for the Bidvest family and others

 

We aim to provide a safe and healthy workplace with equal opportunities conducive to learning and personal development. We want our employees to be proud Bidvest ambassadors.

Operationally we promote and offer out-of-home hygiene services and integrated facilities management services that promote decent work environments.

 
 
COVID-19 specific

At the onset of the national lockdown in South Africa, a R400 million Fund was established with the board's approval. The purpose of the Fund is to provide every employee, who was not working during the national lockdown, with some assistance to alleviate the financial stress that having no/reduced income would create. This Fund, combined with the UIF TERS benefit, was able to compensate most of our employees, particularly those in the lower income brackets, almost in full every month since the lockdown. Our objective is to continue supporting those employees unable to work for as long as the funds are available. Risk benefits and pension fund contributions by employers remained in place for all employees.

75 000

employees furloughed in April

9%

of employees still furloughed at the start of September

72 132

employees benefited from the Fund

The need for psychological, wellness, financial and trauma counselling became apparent as we saw how COVID-19 would impact the lives of people in terms of job losses, illness, abuse, mental illness, poverty and hunger. An employee wellness programme was introduced and rolled out across South Africa. The cost of COVID-19 testing for employees without medical aid is also borne by the company.

Sadly, we lost 35 employees in the Group to COVID-19, of which 33 were in South Africa and two in the UK and Ireland. Various initiatives to support the families of those we lost were introduced. A decision was also made that the Bidvest Education Trust (BET) school bursary scheme would continue to benefit the child of a deceased employee who was a beneficiary of the program at the time of passing away.

Learning and development

Skills development is ongoing and forms an integral part of business and our ability to deliver on service. Established training academies not only meets internal needs but also those of the industries in which we operate. The national lockdown in South Africa negatively impacted some of the learning programs but a number of businesses were able to continue training using online platfroms.

Skills development spend

R360 million

9 675 learnerships,

internships and apprenticeships with 8 515 black beneficiaries

586

black learners were employed subsequently

Health and safety

Management continues to focus on health and safety with a view to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities. The additional health and safety protocols in response to the pandemic are in place at each business. McCarthy developed an app to monitor, track and manage infections in the workplace. The app was made available to the automotive industry, provincial Departments of Education and all Group businesses free of charge.


5 fatalities of which 3 were in the line of duty at Protea Coin, while protecting customer assets

LTIFR (Loss time injury frequency rate)

Transformation, diversity and employment equity

Our people form the backbone of Bidvest. The diversity of people's background, age, race, gender, religion, skills and experience undoubtedly contributes to a Bidvest that is relevant, innovative and future-fit. Our focus remains on advancing inclusion, diversity and equality. Recent, notable appointments at board and executive levels include Mpumi Madisa who assumed the role of Group chief executive effective 1 October 2020, the appointment of Wiseman Madinane as the CEO of Freight and Hannah Sadiki, the incoming CEO of Financial Services.

56%

Net employee growth:
+5% (+3 157)

   

44%

Net employee growth:
+9% (+4 687)

834 employees

have disabilities

35%

of employees belong to unions/ bargaining councils


Doing business in an environmentally friendly and responsible manner

 

We focus on energy and water efficiency, responsible waste management and offering innovative solutions to aid customer sustainability. In FY2020 we continued our initiatives to improve water use; reduce and recycle waste and accelerate renewable energy installations.

The establishment of our LPG storage terminal in Richards Bay will facilitate reliable availability of an affordable low-carbon energy alternative in South Africa.

 

Scope 1 emissions

3% lower

Electricity provided by renewable resources increased

26% yoy

27% less

water used over the past five years

Recycled 200 000

tons of waste


Almost all of the businesses have recycle initiatives in place. The investment made by Bidvest Laundry Group in a membrane bio reactor plant resulted in halving their water usage. 80% of the water used is treated and discharged as industrial wastewater. Konica Minolta retained its carbon neutral status, which it has held since 2013.

Certified environmental management systems are in place at businesses that collectively represent approximately 35% of Group revenue.


Drive positive social change

 

We are involved in community development that enhances education, health, economic inclusion and diversity. Investing in communities and human capital, affords us the opportunity to operate, do business in and draw skills from the communities in which we operate.

Doing business in an ethical manner is part of the Bidvest DNA. Bidvest has a well-entrenched functional governance structure.

We constantly look for ways to innovate within our businesses and the industries in which we operate, through the use of technology and robotics.

 
 
 

R28 million

Socio-economic development spend

R167 million

Enterprise and Supplier development spend in the form of operational assistance, loans and grants.

COVID-19 specific

Bidvest contributed to the social needs of the broader stakeholder community in the country, including a donation to the Solidarity Fund, donation of PPE, cleaning and hygiene products and decontamination services to 2 794 tier two schools as part of a nationwide school readiness project.

In addition, we sponsored the launch of the Woza Matric of 2020 campaign, a free-to-air television initiative aimed at grade 12 learners, in partnership with the SABC and Department of Education.

We are also in the process of distributing food hampers in low-income communities across three provinces, to reach a total of 20 000 households once the project is completed. In rolling out this project, we partnered with local SMME's for the supply of the main staple product. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with NAFCOC, approximately R2 million of the staple product procurement flowed directly into those communities as well.

The Bidvest Education Trust

During 2020, 513 school-going learners benefited from the BET bursary programme. The scope of the trust was recently extended to cover tertiary fees of top performing students graduating from school. The BET currently covers the tertiary education costs of two students that matriculated in the past two years.

Given the extraordinary impact of the pandemic, the BET trustees agreed that the school bursary scheme will continue to support the child of an employee who passed away due to COVID-19. Where an employee was retrenched as a result of business restructuring, the learner will continue to receive the benefit of the bursary for a full academic year following the termination of employment.

Ethics facility

The Ethics facility provided by Bidvest is a free-to-use facility administered by Deloitte Tip-Offs Anonymous and provides whistle-blowers with three channels to raise their concerns, namely telephonic, email and a website form. IA also track, and log applicable calls received outside of the Ethics facility, for example, via social media, the website or emails.

Awareness campaigns are run across the Group, using mechanisms such as SMS and posters being prominently displayed in high traffic areas to encourage employees to "not support it, but rather report it".

During the year, a total of 142 calls were logged bringing the total number of calls logged since inception to 868, an average of one new call being logged every 2.5 days. Only 37 calls remained open and are still under investigation as at 30 June 2020.

Quarterly report backs are given to the social and ethics committee. All complaints lodged through this service are investigated and, where appropriate, criminal, civil and/or disciplinary action is instituted and control improvements introduced to remedy the identified weaknesses.

Refer to the ESG Report for more detail.