Social and ethics committee review
IN EXECUTING ITS DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES, THE SOCIAL AND ETHICS COMMITTEE CONSIDERS THE MONITORING FACTORS CONTAINED IN REGULATION 43 OF THE COMPANIES ACT AND THE RELATED INTERNAL CONTROLS IN PLACE.
About the committee and its activities during the year
Information on the committee’s composition, its responsibilities and efforts can be found in the Corporate governance of the report. During the period under review, the committee considered various initiatives, policies and procedures, business processes and business and stakeholder relationships that could impact its areas of focus. These areas include ethics management, compliance and anti-corruption; monitoring stakeholder relationships; labour and employment; empowerment and transformation; enterprise and supplier development; bursaries and learnerships; environmental awareness; and employee wellness.
Ethics management, compliance and anti-corruption
Hospitality endeavours to ensure its ethical tone is shared and implemented by its contracted tenants and their representative hotel management companies. Hospitality does not tolerate any form of bribery or corruption. Whistle-blowing and anti-corruption procedures are in place. Stakeholders are encouraged to report, if necessary, the actions and individuals who compromise or threaten the Company’s values, reputation and code of ethics. These actions and individuals can be reported through anonymous and independently conducted ethics hotlines. Investigations are carried out and findings reported, and disciplinary, civil or criminal action is taken as and when appropriate. A dedicated ethics hotline is in place at Hospitality’s head office. This ethics hotline also serves Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre, Birchwood Executive Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre. Each management company also has an ethics hotline in place for the hotel properties it operates. The audit and risk committee provides an additional level of oversight to support the social and ethics committee in these matters.
All whistle-blowing incidents reported during the period under review were investigated and addressed. These related mainly to staff grievances. No incidents of misconduct were found.
Labour, employment, bursaries and learnerships
The Company aims to act responsibly and to contribute to the development of the societies it operates in through employing and training staff from the nearby communities, mentorships and sponsorships, donations or charitable giving. Some examples are as follows:
- MCON, Hospitality’s enterprise development project, continues operating at Arabella Hotel, Golf and Spa. MCON was established in 2013 to meet the requirement for clearing alien vegetation on the Arabella Phase 2 site, to protect the biosphere and surrounding areas and to reduce the consumption of water by alien vegetation
- Hospitality focuses on developing its future leaders and providing basic hospitality skills. The Company continues partnering with industry bodies to develop the talent of chefs and sommeliers in the hospitality industry
The Group is an integral part of the communities it operates in and is committed to building sound relationships based on trust, honesty and fairness.
Not only is environmental compliance legally obligatory, it is also an important component of the Group’s commitment to the community and developing its good reputation. Therefore, Hospitality is dedicated to minimising the environmental impact of its activities on natural resources, having implemented various water and energy-saving programmes across its property portfolio in prior years. These include installing of aerators in taps to reduce the consumption and cost of water, using grey water for irrigation purposes and most recently installing an onsite desalination plant at Westin Cape Town, which will produce more than 400 000 litres of desalinated water to supply Westin Cape Town, Southern Sun Waterfront and Southern Sun Cullinan, when running at optimum capacity. This initiative will help save water and reduce the hotels’ dependency on municipal water. Other water-saving initiatives include installing reverse osmosis plants and water filtration plants, and adding water storage tanks at selected properties.
Usage of energy and natural resources is monitored and managed by tenants and their hotel management companies. Installing LED globes and occupancy sensors reduced the cost and usage of energy.
Monitoring stakeholder relationships
Healthy stakeholder relationships remain a vital contributor to the successful implementation of the Company’s strategies and achievement of its objectives. Communication with its employees, shareholders and other stakeholders is open, honest and without prejudice. Communication is underpinned by the Group’s code of ethics, code of conduct and disclosure of information policies. Refer to the section on stakeholders of this report.
The Group’s employees are essential to its success and it is committed to treating them with dignity, trust and respect, and to build long-term relationships based on enforceable employment legislation and respect for human rights. An employee wellness programme is available free to staff for bereavement counselling, financial guidance, legal advice and mentoring.
Empowerment, transformation and enterprise and supplier development
The committee receives regular feedback on the status of Hospitality’s B-BBEE strategy. The Company achieved a level 1 B-BBEE rating due to the strong B-BBEE credentials of its majority shareholder. The committee reviews compliance at a hotel level with the B-BBEE Act, 53 of 2003, and the resultant achievement of suitable B-BBEE ratings, to maintain existing and secure new business.
Material incidences of non-compliance
The committee executed its responsibilities as set out in the Companies Act and in accordance with its written terms of reference. The committee is not aware of any material incidences of non-compliance with legislation during the reporting period.