ESG review

How we "ESG" our business

Ashley Biggs
How we 'ESG' our business

Ashley Biggs
Group company secretary

Our 2018 story was dominated by the hard work of highly motivated Bidcorp people, but real excitement was generated by local teams as they differentiated Bidcorp in market after market as foodservice specialists who add value through insight and innovation.

Bidcorp, operating as Bidfood in most geographies, has a decentralised model which encourages the entrepreneurial spirit contained in each of its businesses. Each business is directly responsible for its product range, its buying and sales approach. Businesses own their local brand and their own "look and feel". The cultural differences are important to differentiate the regional locations. Customers should see each business as an autonomous, small, local business and be confident in Bidfood's ability to deliver quality and value at unsurpassed service levels. Our staff are passionate about the products they sell and the customers they service.

Bidcorp embraces rigorous corporate governance as a way of life rather than a process of putting compliance "ticks in the box". Stakeholders can only derive full, sustained value if the business is founded on honesty, integrity, accountability and transparency. Bidcorp prizes simplicity. Clearer focus facilitates both good management and good governance.

Structures that capture the talent and energy needed for continued growth provide a firm basis for robust governance. The key features of this geographically diversified framework is the Bidcorp divisional structure, supported by a South Africa-based corporate office.

Each of Bidcorp's businesses are grouped into a geographically defined division. Each division is quarterly convened, under the lens of the independently chaired divisional audit and risk committee. These quarterly committees conduct a robust, in-depth financial review of business-by-business results, mapped against budget and prior year. In addition, governance updates, combined assurance reports and a risk review makes up the agenda. Each management team, CE and FD, sign a quarterly management representation letter, providing an additional layer of assurance and comfort that policies are in place, well understood and implemented by all members of the group.

Bidcorp has a proven way of doing business. At local level, our people are empowered to use their initiative, are held accountable and rewarded accordingly. Our decentralised business model is underpinned by our proven ability to attract, retain and develop self-motivated people.

Bidcorp people and our business model are flexible and adaptable. Economic conditions change, so does the business cycle, while changing customer tastes and preferences can impact demand. Bidcorp therefore expects all operations to be responsive and nimble.

How we integrate

Bidcorp recognises the value of an integrated governance approach incorporating risk management, assurance and compliance functions.

Bidcorp manages the challenge of good governance in a decentralised environment by rigorous integration of four basic pillars: governance, risk management, assurance and compliance. This framework ensures respect for legislated requirements and regulations yet is flexible enough to accommodate change and innovation.

Our autonomous teams embrace the opportunity to share best practice. This is not mandated but rather a function of robust communication, embracing social media tools to bring our geographically separated teams closer to learn and grow, navigating success through similar challenges. Our people are pragmatists with the knowledge and experience to recognise scope for improvement and implement necessary change – whether the concepts are independently developed or spring from shared experience.

These considerations apply in the sphere of good governance and ultimately in business success.