Sodexo: raising Quality of Life to better the world.
Sodexo is one of the world’s leading integrated facilities management and food services companies. The company has total expertise across the board, ranging from chefs, nutritionists, engineers, technicians, sustainability advocates, workplace safety champions, technology experts and many more, to customise the best solution for its clients, ranging from schools and multi-national corporations to hospitals and oil and gas companies.
The goal? To optimise every individual’s quality of life, work and learning.
But Sodexo doesn’t focus on just doing well; the company also strives to do good. It proactively contributes to the economic, social and environmental development of communities and places in which they operate.
Sodexo’s corporate responsibility roadmap Better Tomorrow 2025 helps the group organise its sustainability and CSR activities systematically. The plan maps out clear goals that the company is working to meet in various areas including Diversity and Inclusion, Waste Reduction and initiatives to fight hunger and malnutrition.
Building a diverse and inclusive workforce
Sodexo’s corporate responsibility actions start from enhancing the quality of life of its very own employees. One of the most important ways Sodexo senior leaders achieve this is by advocating and practicing “equal opportunity for all”.
All employees, women and men, are given the same treatment in hiring and promotion and have every chance to reach the highest echelons of management. After all, it has been found that gender-balanced teams enjoy better client retention, higher brand awareness and even higher operating margins among other business benefits.
But it’s not just about making the numbers add up. Sodexo works towards gender balance through a culture of unbiased inclusion, providing access to mentors and sponsors and allowing for flexible work arrangements. Women are also encouraged to raise their hand to go for bigger challenges.
To promote the career advancement of women employees, the company launched Sodexo Women’s International Forum for Talent (SWIFt) in 2009. SWIFt’s members lead Sodexo’s gender diversity strategy, and have helped increase women’s representation in Group senior leaders.
Right now, 54% of Sodexo employees worldwide are women; and females represent 50% of the board and 30% of the group’s senior executives. The company is working to increase the number of women in leadership roles to 40% by 2025 via training and mentorship.
Having a diverse and inclusive culture also means recognising that talent comes in all forms, including people with disabilities, often a source of untapped talent. Sodexo has committed to providing access to programs for people with disabilities by the year 2025. In all countries where Sodexo operates, it will promote the recruitment, engagement and development of people with disabilities within the parameters of local laws and policies.
Waste be gone
Sodexo acknowledges that waste is one of its biggest collective challenges. It thus focuses on prevention, as this is where positive impact on the environment is the biggest.
Commercially, Sodexo offers WasteWatch, a food waste prevention programme that helps clients and consumers cut down on waste through tracking, mindful behaviour and consumer engagement.
When it comes to community outreach, Sodexo hosts an annual WasteLESS Week, a five-day campaign that empowers staff, clients and consumers to waste less and improve the quality of life for everyone.
Last year, Sodexo mobilised its clients and consumers to donate fit for consumption food that is close to expiry from their households to the beneficiaries of Food Bank Singapore. For example, more than 300 students from the schools Sodexo served came on board as volunteers, and the company received over 200kg of food that would otherwise be wasted.
In October 2017, Sodexo was a supporting partner to Food Bank Singapore’s “Project Xcess”, a campaign to highlight the large volume of food that Singapore has been dumping due to cosmetic filtering. The campaign included a cooking competition that challenged participants to whip up dishes using “ugly” and close-to-expiry food. Sodexo’s nutritionist and team formed the jury for this competition.
On a daily basis, the company utilises reusable cutlery on its sites whenever possible, and encourages customers to bring their own cups for beverages. Some sites offer promotions to encourage consumers to switch to reusable cups.
While a significant amount of food gets wasted, 10% of people worldwide suffer from hunger – that’s hundreds of millions of people who are not getting enough to eat every day.
This is why Sodexo has chosen to fight hunger and malnutrition through Stop Hunger, an organisation set up by its employees in 1996 to serve the disadvantaged.
In Singapore, the Servathon is an opportunity for employees and clients to volunteer their time and services to bring nutritious food to members of the community.
For example, Sodexo volunteers across multiple departments lent their support to Willing Hearts in August 2018, a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 5,000 meals daily to over 40 locations across Singapore. Beneficiaries include the elderly, disabled, low-income families, children from single-parent families and migrant workers. For five days, the volunteers gave their all in the kitchen of Willing Hearts to prepare warm meals for beneficiaries.
The campaign ended on a high with 200 volunteers serving a healthy lunch to some 100 senior citizens living at Circuit Road. The lively event included entertainment, nutritional sharing from Sodexo’s dietitians and goodie bags containing nutritious food items.
Back in December 2017, Sodexo also created a pop-up supermarket at Thye Hua Kwan Senior Activity Centre at Ang Mo Kio, bringing healthy food supplies closer to the elderly.
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