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.