Foodservice reaches into homes and families worldwide. Within our group, each decentralised business makes its own social and sustainability contribution in its own way. It is impossible to itemise every intervention, but we can describe some projects and the general Bidcorp approach.
Bidcorp believes in partnership and alignment. Partnership with specialists in various areas ensures optimum impact and minimal duplication. Alignment ensures focus on national and international priorities. Many interventions dovetail with the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.
Bidcorp United Kingdom
Making a difference the Bidcorp way
The goal of our social inventions is to make a sustainable difference, not a once-off cheque-writing exercise. To make initiatives real and relevant, social projects often have a connection to our business. Further traction is achieved by encouraging staff involvement.
The approach was recently highlighted by the One Water campaign at Bidcorp UK and the follow-up visit to Malawi by a group of staff members.
One Water, the ethical water brand, supports clean water, pump repair and educational initiatives in third world countries, including Malawi.
Bidcorp UK gave added impetus to One Water efforts by driving up sales of the brand. Sales growth of 136% was achieved. Meanwhile, staff members launched local fundraising efforts to add further financial muscle.
A group of employees then flew to Malawi to see One Water in action, while contributing to awareness-raising efforts to highlight the plight of African communities that have no access to running water.
The staff did not simply observe and contribute to a social media blog. They handed out basic learning materials at under-resourced schools, distributed T-shirts to children who had no change of clothes, and helped with pump repairs.
T-shirts carried the slogan “Together we can make the world a better place” – an insight borrowed from Bidcorp UK’s plate2planet website. The slogan also featured on a branded Bidcorp banner displayed by the group.
UK staff saw African poverty first hand and joined in the trek (sometimes down a mountainside) that village women and children have to make to reach water sources when their village has no water pump.
The party is now back in the UK, providing further traction to this social intervention as they share their experiences with colleagues.
In western Europe, with its ageing population, initiatives to assist the elderly receive growing attention and for the last five years Deli XL Netherlands has been making a difference with its Ouderendag intervention.
This is an annual day out for residents of retirement homes. The chance to get out and about is always appreciated by these old people. The intervention also has relevance to our operations as the institutional business category is important to Deli XL.
The most recent Ouderendag involved a visit to a zoo (another customer of Deli XL). As is the Bidcorp way, our people are actively involved. Employees volunteer to help and are on hand to accompany the old people on their outing.
Ouderendag is fast becoming a tradition. The elderly, our customers and our people all enjoy the day.
A key community programme in Australia is KickStart for Kids. This programme, launched in 2011, is driven by the belief that every child, regardless of background, deserves an equal chance.
KickStart for Kids runs breakfast, lunch and mentoring programmes in South Australian schools. It also provides clothing and addresses healthcare needs.
If children are hungry or encounter hardship, they cannot fully engage at school. This hobbles educational outcomes, with the risk that the cycle of poverty and marginalisation will be perpetuated for another generation.
Research shows that children who grow up in hardship are more likely to be poorly educated and face deprivation as adults. KickStart for Kids tries to level the playing field.
To assist the programme, Australia donates a pallet of milk every week. This equates to an annual contribution of A$30,000 and enables KickStart for Kids to serve around 40 000 breakfasts and 10 000 lunches a week at over 300 South Australian schools.
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South Africa is one of Africa’s most advanced economies, but unemployment, especially among young people, has become a major problem. Often, young people lack the education and skills to enter the formal economy. One response is the ‘unemployed learnership programme’ whereby a company provides job-related education and training for those without work.
Even in cases where the sponsoring company cannot offer employment within its own ranks, the successful learner has much-improved job prospects as a learnership is a nationally recognised industry qualification.
Food Africa (BFA) showed its commitment to job creation through skills transfer by enrolling 43 young unemployed people in a learnership programme, culminating in the award of certificates in professional cookery.
The one-year certificate programme gives them the grounding they need for entry-level jobs in professional kitchens. All successful programme participants were placed in formal employment with BFA customers.
At the same time, BFA funded the construction of training kitchens at two training schools, one black-owned and one black female-owned. BFA is committed to the training and development of black industry entrants and will provide mentoring and coaching for students at the two establishments.
The food of love
To spread the joy of good food, Angliss Hong Kong Foodservice has arranged a series of cooking demonstrations by eight leading local chefs, representing eight non-governmental organisations or charities in Hong Kong.
Each chapter of A Platter of Love, a book published to mark the inspiring social initiative, tells the story of one of those events: the students, the organisation, the chef and the delicious dishes that were created.
For the participants, the experience of learning from theses culinary experts was a rare opportunity that they will treasure. For the chefs it was a chance to share their love of food with underprivileged members of society. The enthusiasm and emotion of all participants has made this programme very rewarding.