Sustainability Overview


ESG has been part of corporate thinking and reporting for some time. Bidvest has, this year, elevated ESG considerably across the Group.

As the impact of climate change and inequality become more and more evident, the need for all stakeholders to ensure common cause, understanding and purpose, and to avoid damaging the environmental and social status for future generations, has become a critically important imperative. We recognise that people are the enabler of our business and a critical resource that needs to be nurtured, developed and supported.

Our sustainability strategy, focused on areas where we can make the biggest difference, culminated in an ESG Framework. The notion of stakeholder capitalism and sustainable enterprise value creation resonates strongly with the Group and for this reason we have set innovative, measurable and challenging targets for our leadership to implement this framework. This will ultimately ensure the continued generation of long-term value for shareholders, for all other members of stakeholder society and for the planet we share.

Gillian McMahon
Executive director

Gillian McMahon

Bidvest has reviewed its commitments and these have been reiterated as:

  • To conduct profitable business in a responsible and accountable manner;
  • To care for the Bidvest family and our connected societies; and
  • To drive positive change through partnerships and social dialogue.

To achieve these commitments, we set the following objectives for ourselves:

  • Nurture people and business diversity;
  • Unlock value through innovation and efficiencies;
  • Represent responsibly made products;
  • Maintain financial strength through growth, focus and discipline; and
  • Preserve empowering decentralised governance model.

Our ESG Framework sets our focus areas and targets to achieve our objectives and meet our commitments, all while delivering the Bidvest strategy. These focus areas include:

Reduce our carbon, water and waste footprint by a further 20% by 2025;

We want to be an inclusive employer with females making up 35–45%, and African people representing 50% of the SA businesses’ management by 2025;

Become SA’s leader in supply chain transformation by targeting more than 90% local sourcing from suppliers that have a Level 4 or better

Ensuring that our supply chain partners are responsible in their dealings, that we contribute to the circular economy while protecting and enhancing livelihoods; and

Conducting business with uncompromising integrity will remain our cornerstone and actively manage cybersecurity risk.

FY2021 Sustainability performance

Social: Caring for the Bidvest family and driving positive change through partnerships and social dialogue

In line with SDGs aimed at good health and well-being and gender equality, the Group is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace with equal opportunities conducive to learning and personal development. In particular, the Group continues to promote and offer out-of-home hygiene services and integrated facilities management services in order to support safe and healthy occupational environments.

The Group is proud to be a deep-rooted corporate citizen in South Africa, as it is highly engaged in community development activities, with a particular focus on enhancing education, health, economic advancement and diversity. Investing in communities and human capital and supporting local suppliers, affords us the opportunity to operate, do business in and draw skills from the communities in which we operate.

The social element of ESG is of particular importance to Bidvest as it is one of the largest private sector employers and touches multiple sectors and communities. We incorporated the Bidvest blueprint, identified risks and relevant stakeholders in formulating our aims and commitments as it relates to social matters in our ESG Framework. The measurements identified will assist in achieving these commitments in the period to 2025. As we continue on this journey, our measurement data will become richer allowing us to be even more targeted and deliberate.

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 six 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 six divisional CEOs. The three executive directors in turn report into the main Group board of directors, directly or through the established committees.