The Board takes regular account of the significance of environmental, ethical and social factors affecting the Group and recognises that management of these matters is key to ensuring the long-term sustainability of its businesses.
The importance of good relations with all employees is well recognised and accepted throughout the Group. 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 their approach to employee engagement to the needs of their particular business.
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.
For example, over the course of the last financial year, Triton has continued to invest in apprenticeship programmes offering positions for school leavers within its busy administration and technical departments. A number of spaces are available annually to young people who want to learn on the job and are keen to join one of the region’s largest employers. In the year, Triton employed five apprentices and there are now around 16 full-time staff members who have joined the business in this way.
Each has become an expert in their field and an asset to the Company, due to the high level of support provided.
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 23.8% of employees are female.
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 Directors do not consider human rights 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.
The Group has its Modern Slavery Act statement, and a policy in support of this, but does not at the present time have general policies which specifically address human rights. Our corporate values focus on respect, integrity and fairness, and we welcome the debate on the role of business in promoting human rights.
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.
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 60 of our 2017 Annual Report. We are pleased to report that there has been a reduction in overall emissions compared to last year, notwithstanding the overall growth in the activities of the Group. Relative to revenue, emissions have fallen by 14.6% 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.
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. Specific anti-bribery and corruption training has continued to be given to all senior management in the year under review.
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 Committee has reviewed these arrangements and is satisfied that all staff of the Group 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.
Two specific examples of our commitment to the society in which we operate are given in the case study for Norcros South Africa on page 17, and at Triton where their close relationship with not-for-profit organisation, Dare2Dream (D2D), has resulted in the appointment of a new trainee. Since its formation in July 2014, D2D has grown rapidly and continued to evolve thanks to ongoing sponsorship from Triton. The core aim for every joint project is to raise aspirations and broaden the horizons of young adults in Warwickshire and the West Midlands. A recent D2D initiative, Aspire2Achieve, was facilitated by Triton to assist 16–18 year olds to secure further education or apprenticeship opportunities. The collaboration included a tour of Triton’s headquarters, providing first-hand experience of a professional environment, plus advice on CV writing and job interview techniques. Alongside well-established links with D2D, Triton is a firm supporter of other charities in the Nuneaton area too. Wider activities have included a three-year partnership with Warwickshire Young Carers’ Project, which assists those who play a key role in their home by looking after a parent or sibling with a disability, illness or mental health problem.
The number of people employed by the Group of each gender can be shown as follows:
|Other senior managers1||48||15||63|
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.