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Sodexo’s positive impact on levelling up recognised in new report

Former Education Secretary Justine Greening

Sodexo (@SodexoGroup) has today published a report by the Rt Hon Justine Greening’s Purpose Coalition which examines its current impact on levelling up and how it can go further in the future.

The report, which follows last week’s launch of the government’s Levelling Up white paper, has been developed in partnership with Rt Hon Justine Greening and benchmarks Sodexo’s activities against her Purpose Coalition’s Levelling Up Goals. It identifies the specific areas where the FM and food services provider is already making a positive impact, but also makes recommendations as to what more could be done.  

Launched in 2021, the Levelling Up Goals provide a framework for organisations to identify gaps in access to opportunity, as well as solutions to remove those barriers. They also provide the means to be able to benchmark progress going forward.

As an employer of some 29,000 people in the UK, and a provider of a wide range of services including food and hospitality, cleaning, security and property management, Sodexo is an intrinsic part of many communities and is well-placed to make a positive, social impact on several of the Levelling Up Goals.

The report highlights key strengths which see Sodexo leading the way on the levelling up agenda. These include:

  • Goal 3: Positive destinations post 16+ and open recruitment – Sodexo is committed to creating employment opportunities and enabling colleagues to thrive through local career pathways, apprenticeships, kickstarting careers for students, and filling job vacancies with those with an offending background where appropriate
  • Goal 8: Good health and wellbeing – Sodexo is recognised for its mature wellbeing strategy. Use of its employee assistance programme is above industry average and colleagues are now, as a result, more comfortable talking about topics such as mental health and stress. The organisation has also recently enhanced its health and wellbeing programmes with such offers as a free will writing service and a health and wellbeing app which allows access to a 24-hour GP service.
  • Goal 9: Extending enterprise – More than half of the organisations which make up Sodexo’s supply chain are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The business works closely with them to support their integration into the supply chain whilst providing coaching and mentoring to senior leaders of SME and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) across the country. Sodexo is also a signatory to the ‘Buy Social’ corporate challenge, meaning it will provide formal support to social enterprises going forward.  
  • Goal 13: Harness the energy transition – Through its Appetite for Action campaign, Sodexo is raising awareness of the significant, yet not well-recognised, link between food waste and carbon emissions. Food waste reduction plays a key role in the business’ roadmap to net zero and decarbonisation by 2045, which has so far been validated as far as 2030 by the Science Based Targets initiative.
  • Goal 14: Achieve equality, through diversity and inclusion – Sodexo was the first organisation within the FM and hospitality sectors to voluntarily publish an ethnicity pay gap report. It has established diversity, equity and inclusion employee networks to support the agenda and drive frontline engagement – together these currently have around 1,600 members.

As well as highlighting these key strengths, the report also outlines recommendations for further work Sodexo can do to play its role in driving the Levelling Up agenda forward. These areas include socio-economic background reporting and re-integrating those with Long Covid back into the workforce.

Rt. Hon Justine Greening said:

“Large organisations play a key role in levelling up communities and Sodexo is a great example of where they can make significant progress by having a community focus. The scale of the business and its reach into local communities, means that Sodexo has the opportunity to make a real difference. 

“Sodexo’s report shows that through its social value strategy it is clearly leading the way in many areas to deliver activities with wider impact. Importantly, it also has ambitions to go further and increase its impact on a number of the Goals.

“The Levelling Up White Paper launched last week was a step in the right direction, but progress can only truly be achieved by purposeful leaders and organisations. The work highlighted in this report should inspire other organisations to do more and make a real change.”

Sean Haley, Region Chair, Sodexo UK & Ireland said:

“When the levelling up agenda was announced, the role the business community would need to play if the dial was truly to shift, was immediately apparent.

“Sodexo’s purpose, throughout its more than 50-year history, has always been to contribute positively to the communities in which we live and work. This, combined with the scale of our operational footprint, puts us in the fortunate position of being able to support driving this extremely important agenda forward.”  

You can read the full report here.

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