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Financial highlights and results
Our Group in brief
Consolidated segmental analysis
Performance at a glance
External appraisals
Global footprint
Chairman’s statement
Chief executive’s report
Financial director’s report
Review of operations
Summarised sustainability report
Corporate governance
Financial statements
Management directory
Shareholders’ diary
AGM notice and proxy
Summarised sustainability report  continued
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Bidvest employs 104 184 people, 87 833 in South Africa, the majority of whom are HDIs (86,2%). Businesses comply with statutory requirements: the South African Labour Relations, the Basic Conditions of Employment, the Skills Development, the Employment Equity, the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment, Unemployment Insurance and the Occupational Health and Safety Acts, or their equivalents in other countries. Business codes, policies and procedures typically cover recruitment and selection, business conduct, nondiscrimination, industrial relations, employment equity, grievance and dispute settlement, HIV/Aids and other life threatening diseases, employee conduct, freedom of association, ethics and sexual harassment. Many of these were negotiated and agreed with unions. Companies have formal grievance procedures in place, which in South Africa are in accordance with Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act.

Many businesses have structured employee development programmes and related performance appraisal systems in place and a growing number of businesses conduct formal employee satisfaction surveys.

Bidvest has been nominated by a panel of experts as one of the top 10 companies to work for in South Africa in research undertaken by the Corporate Research Foundation.
A review of communications throughout the Group has revealed significant opportunities to improve physical and electronic communications with employees worldwide. Developments include an improved database of employee information, the merger of the Bidvest website and intranet and an upgraded staff publication, Bidvoice, which includes sustainability related issues. The Proudly Bidvest positioning has been well received by staff, businesses, customers and suppliers. Bidvest is known for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary and that theme will be built on in our communications.
Health and safety
Bidvest is dedicated to meeting relevant occupational health and safety standards, as well as sound global best practices. Operations are compliant with relevant occupational health and safety legislation and regulations. Business units have designated personnel and systems in place to monitor and manage health and safety standards. Business units which involve a hazardous working environment have formal systems to ensure that the strictest health and safety standards are enforced. Business units are required to identify health and safety risks in the workplace and take steps to eliminate or mitigate risks by implementing the necessary controls. Training and maintaining an awareness of risks and precautions are an important part of this process.

It is with regret that Bidvest reports the death of five employees while on duty. Full investigations are conducted of fatal incidents and adaptations to the health and safety processes are made where necessary.

The injury rate for Bidvest was 4,7 and the lost day rate was 10,3. Definitions relating to occupational health and safety are in line with the GRI’s G3 guidelines and its technical protocols.
The HIV/Aids epidemic is a significant challenge affecting most Bidvest companies in southern Africa. A Group HIV/Aids policy serves to guide businesses in developing appropriate programmes. Bidvest companies are proactively tackling the epidemic, often in cooperation with unions. While a number of businesses are making progress and several have outstanding HIV/Aids programmes, many businesses still need to improve their response strategies.

An HIV actuarial prevalence study was conducted by an outside specialist as an initial step towards quantifying the impact of HIV/Aids on the Group along with an assessment of the HIV/Aids programmes in place throughout the Group. HIV prevalence rate is 17,3%, which is an average and, given Bidvest’s diversity, cannot be applied to any one business unit in isolation. Bidvest is considering how best to enhance existing programmes and assist in the development of a co-ordinated HIV/Aids strategy for the Group. But the basis remains decentralised.

Bidvest is a member of SABCOHA, the South African Business Coalition on HIV/Aids.
Employee development is a vital aspect of maintaining a motivated, competent workforce, especially given South Africa’s shortage of skilled labour. Training and development is the responsibility of senior management and programmes are structured according to business and employee needs.

Divisions budget a minimum 1,0% of gross total payroll for skills development programmes. In South African operations, a learning programme matrix has been introduced to ensure alignment with Department of Labour criteria and the Skills Development Act. The programme ensures that skills spend initiatives have clear learning outcomes and focuses on occupation directed and work-based learning.

An amount of R1 354 was spent on training per employee, up from R1 092 in 2006. Education and training opportunities include staff education bursaries, adult basic education and training programmes and learnerships in South Africa, and specific technical and industry-related skills training.

In South Africa, an emphasis is placed on executive leadership development. The Bidvest Academy offers leadership and business training through practical interventions and exposure to the Group, its businesses and executives. The Graduate Academy, offered to graduates of the academy who have had several more years’ experience in the field and show continued promise, focuses on issues perceived as being of key importance to the businesses – negotiation, diversity training, marketing and new business opportunities including a divisional project to identify “green” business opportunities.

A sales orientation and sales management development programme has been rolled out to Bidfood businesses and has been offered to other divisions.
Bidvest interacts with a broad range of corporate and private customers. While a number of businesses conduct formal customer satisfaction surveys, most interact personally with their predominantly corporate clients on a regular basis and real time feedback is used to enhance service delivery. A number of businesses formally log customer feedback and subsequent actions, often as part of a quality management system such as ISO 9000.
Community activities
Responsibility for corporate social investment activities resides with Bidvest divisions and their business units, most of which support a variety of initiatives. Bidvest CSI covers: education and training, health and HIV/Aids, community development, sports, arts and culture, environmental initiatives, economic empowerment and job creation, safety and security and welfare.

Group CSI spend increased to R38,5 million (2006: R28,7 million), which equates to 1,0% of pre-tax profit. The South African operations spent R32,2 million, which equates to 1,2% of profit before tax.
Bidvest is a services, trading and distribution business which has a variety of environmental impacts. The JSE SRI Index has classified Bidvest as a business with a “medium” environmental impact. As a minimum, businesses ensure compliance with applicable environmental legislation and in many cases, through the use of newest technologies and best practices, go beyond compliance.

A Group environmental policy, which encourages businesses to take a more proactive stance to the environment as a sustainability issue has been developed. A number of businesses have moved beyond compliance to adopting voluntary standards for indirect impacts relevant to their industry sector. United Kingdom-based 3663 stands out as a leader in the Group with its proactive stance towards the environment and its innovative environmental projects.

The standardisation of data and the data collation process has improved and environmental data is reported for the first time for some South African divisions. In a group as diverse and decentralised as Bidvest, ongoing work is required to streamline the collation, management and usability of sustainability data and to ensure management takes ownership of information, to guide appropriate actions. Plans are in place for online gathering of sustainability data.
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