The Board promotes the success of Norcros for the benefit of its shareholders as a whole. In doing this, the Board takes regular account of many things, including the interests of all employees, the importance of positive relationships with suppliers and customers and the significance of environmental, ethical and social factors affecting the Group. We recognise that management of these matters is key to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our businesses.
The importance of good relations with all employees is well recognised and accepted throughout the Group. The Board has always been keen to promote employee engagement. The Group is fully committed to keeping its employees informed about their work unit and the wider business, but because the Group’s activities are generally organised on a de-centralised basis, with each operating business having a reasonable degree of autonomy over its operations, there is no uniform set of arrangements for employee involvement imposed throughout the Group. Nevertheless, all businesses in the Group are strongly encouraged to devise and adopt whatever means of employee consultation best suits their circumstances. We believe this approach provides flexibility and enables divisional management to tailor its approach to employee engagement to the needs of its particular business. The Board stays in touch with all our employees via regular meetings with divisional management and site visits to our operations, and receives reports on employee engagement.
Across Norcros, great emphasis is placed on the recruitment, training and development of our people. All businesses have training programmes for staff and we have examples of best practice regarding management development. Norcros also recognises the need to train its staff, in order to give them the necessary skills to perform their duties to the high standards required.
We are committed across all Norcros businesses to education and career development.
The Group recognises its responsibilities towards disabled persons and therefore all applications from such persons are fully and fairly considered bearing in mind the respective aptitudes and abilities of the applicant. In the event of existing employees becoming disabled, every effort is made to ensure that their employment with the Group continues and that appropriate training is arranged. It is the policy of the Group that the training, career development and promotion of disabled persons should, as far as possible, be identical to that of an able-bodied person.
Our people are key to our success as a business and we value the individuality and diversity that each employee brings. Prior to any senior appointment, the Nominations Committee ensures the best person for the role is appointed and in doing so gives due consideration to gender and diversity.
At senior leadership levels 25% of employees are female.
In April 2019 the Group again published its gender pay gap statistics for its UK employees in accordance with the Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations. These are available on our website: www.norcros.com. They show the existence of a gender pay gap. Based on current reported information, Norcros in the UK has a gender pay gap which ranks us in the third quartile of the ranking of the reporting entities, using the “mean average hourly rate” measure.
The Board of Norcros plc is committed to gender equality and is satisfied that there is no pay inequality at Norcros – men and women are paid equally for equal work. However, for historical and sociological reasons, there is a preponderance of male employees in some areas of the business, particularly in senior roles. This generates a gender pay gap, as these roles tend to be better paid and receive larger bonuses. As stated above, the Board is committed to promoting diversity in all its forms and will seek to address the causes of this imbalance, where this is practicable.
We seek to create and maintain long-term relationships with our key suppliers, and often work together with suppliers and customers to develop new products and improve existing ones. The Group publishes its supplier payment data for the UK in accordance with supplier payment reporting regulations.
We are committed to respecting the dignity of the individual and to support the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and other core conventions. As a result the Directors do not consider human rights issues to be a material risk for the Group, principally due to the existing regulatory frameworks in place in the UK and South Africa, being the primary geographical locations in which we operate. In South Africa, the business is cognisant of its responsibilities under the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment legislation. In addition, the Group has its Modern Slavery Act statement and a policy in support of this. More generally, our corporate values focus on respect, integrity and fairness.
Care for the environment and sustainability are at the forefront of all our activities and products. The Board recognises that the Group’s activities do have an impact on the environment. We seek to manufacture all our products in a sustainable way and many of the products themselves contain environmental features – for example, our taps and showers encourage water and energy saving and our tiles and adhesives use recycled products where appropriate. In addition, and as featured on page 17, our taps can include a filtered water function which reduces demand for bottled mineral water.
Norcros is committed to minimising this impact by continually improving its efficiency in terms of energy, water and material consumption. We also have rigorous programmes to seek to ensure compliance with all environmental legislation and requirements relating to our operations and our products.
The Group aims to minimise its carbon footprint. Its greenhouse gas emissions are reported on in detail on page 66. Whilst there has been a modest increase in overall emissions compared to last year, this has to be considered in the context of the overall growth in the activities of the Group. Relative to revenue, emissions have fallen by 0.5% year on year. We are cognisant of our obligations in the UK as regards the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme initiative, and we were fully compliant with this in the financial year under review.
For further information on Norcros’ commitment to the environment and sustainability please visit the “Corporate Responsibility” section of www.norcros.com.
The Group aims to act with integrity towards all stakeholders in its businesses and respects the laws, regulations and customs in all the countries within which it operates. The Group makes every effort to ensure its employees are aware of, and comply with, the relevant business’ ethical code.
The Group has implemented an anti-bribery policy to comply with the Bribery Act 2010. Appropriate procedures are in place at each location to mitigate the risk of any employee committing an offence under this Act.
We have published a Modern Slavery Act statement, which emphasises the Group’s commitment to the eradication of slavery and human trafficking, both within Norcros and in its supply chains.
In order to ensure an open culture of legal and ethical compliance, all of the businesses in the Group have in place “whistleblowing” procedures, so that any concerns can be raised. During the year the Audit and Risk Committee has reviewed these arrangements and is satisfied that all Group employees may, in confidence, raise concerns about possible improprieties.
Our commitment to the society in which we operate is deep. Every Group business has programmes of social engagement, including many charitable activities. Each business has a track record of supporting local and national charities and other voluntary sector organisations. Given our de-centralised structure, business units in the Group are encouraged to become involved in and support local initiatives where possible. The Executive Management of the Group supports this commitment to our society and reviews each business’ activities on a monthly basis. A specific example of our commitment to the society in which we operate is given in the case study for Vado.
This year has seen the launch of several programmes aimed at skills development for the previously unemployed in society. At a basic level, our Norcros Tiling Academy took in another batch of very enthusiastic learners, keen to learn the trade of tiling. In another programme, young unemployed people were selected by Norcros SA to commence a year of study and workplace experience to lift them into the realm of the employable. In addition, more unemployed people were accepted onto an artisan apprentice programme.
The number of people employed by the Group of each gender as at 31 March 2019 can be shown as follows:
|Other senior managers1||48||16||64|
1 As defined by the Companies Act this category includes all employees responsible for planning, directing or controlling the activities of the Group, excluding Company Directors.
The Committee receives regular papers on incidences of fraud and whistleblowing and reviews them at each meeting. At least annually, the Committee conducts an assessment of the adequacy of the Group’s procedures in respect of compliance, whistleblowing and fraud.