Corporate & social responsibility
The Board believes that the Group should be run in a manner which reflects its commitment to high ethical standards and embraces social and environmental concerns which impact the communities in which it operates. The Board aims to continue building a sustainable business which creates value for its shareholders whilst addressing the needs of other stakeholders.
Policy on the Payment of Creditors
The Group's policy is to fix terms of payment when agreeing the terms of each business transaction, to ensure the supplier is aware of those terms and to abide by the agreed terms of payment. The Group trade creditors' balance at the 30 September 2012 represents 34 (2011: 33) days credit based on the whole year's purchases.
Treatt likes to support charities in the local communities in which it operates by providing donations and responding to certain ad hoc requests for support. In addition, Treatt supports the fund raising efforts of staff by matching sponsorship collected or enabling fund raising activities to take place at work. In the financial year to 30 September 2014 charitable donations of £16,000 (2013: £15,000) were made to local causes. As well as this local support, Treatt supports an isolated village in Tanzania where it has sourced bitter orange oil since 1935 and has invested in improvements designed to support the community such as donations to help build classrooms and schoolteacher's accommodation at the local village school and the provision of books and wind-up radios. Numbers at the primary school have increased to such an extent that Treatt is now helping to fund the building of another classroom to cope with the increased demand. Treatt has also assisted two local students with their secondary education.
Social and community issues
The Group endeavours to impact positively on the communities in which it operates. Earthoil is an example of this where the company focuses on fair trade, ensuring farmers are traded with on equitable terms.
Earthoil's KOOFA (Kenyan Organic Oil Farmers Association) is situated in the Mount Kenya area and initially began with just 90 farmers growing borage - a pressed seed oil crop. The project has now moved on to tea tree oil and has since expanded to over 500 growers. Through this and other projects Earthoil has passed on valuable farming skills that help these farmers ensure successful crops and therefore, valuable income. The farmers can call on Earthoil-employed agronomists and field officers for help and guidance as they learn the required skills.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of employees is the Group's number one priority. In addition, the Group similarly seeks to ensure the safety of all visitors, customers, suppliers, contractors etc. As part of its comprehensive health and safety policies, managed by health and safety professionals employed by the Group, a range of key indicators are maintained and reported at every Board meeting. The Group promotes a positive in-house health and safety culture through regular health and safety committee meetings, internal safety audits and extensive employee training, all of which lead to continuous improvement. Particular emphasis is placed upon the recording and assessment of 'near misses' and the resultant implementation of preventative measures. The Group's policy of investment in health and safety was continued during the financial year.
An occupational health scheme is in place which monitors the health of employees against baseline assessments taken at commencement of their employment. Regular visits by the occupational health contractor also provide staff with the opportunity to discuss health issues and concerns if they wish. Additionally, a confidential employee assistance service is provided which provides telephone advice and assistance on various subject matters including health, family, financial and legal.
Treatt is committed to good environmental practice, it places importance on the impact of its operations on the environment and on ensuring that it operates and adopts responsible practices. Recent investment in the environmental function allows Treatt to monitor legislation and act upon it where necessary ensuring regular review of Treatt's environmental policies.
The Group continuously evaluates ways of reducing its impact on the environment by means of:
reduction of waste and improvements in waste management;
increased recycling and the use of recycled products where possible;
conservation of energy and improvements in energy management & efficiency;
the use of video conferencing facilities, thereby reducing carbon footprint through reduced travel.
Treatt has replaced its closed loop cooling water circuit in the USA with direct cooling from deep well water on all still condensers. This well water is then recycled back into the aquifer via a second deep well. The system will provide significant local environmental benefits as well as reduced energy usage. In the USA, Treatt is entering into an agreement for "single stream recycling" of its refuse. Approximately 90% of its rubbish will go into one container which will be picked up by a recycle company and separated into different recycle types. The remaining 10% composed of restroom and canteen rubbish will continue to be collected by the local authority as required by law. Programmable thermostats were added to reduce heating and air conditioning requirements during out of office hours in all labs and offices. Energy efficient light fixtures have been installed to reduce energy costs throughout the facility.
In the UK, Treatt has certain employees nominated as waste champions with additional responsibility for the reduction and efficient use of waste streams in their areas. All waste streams in the UK have now been reviewed and assessed as part of a move towards a zero land fill waste strategy. In addition, Treatt's waste oil with a calorific value is sent for use as biomass, thereby further reducing the Company's carbon footprint and eliminating disposal costs. Investigations are also underway to enable disposal of waste glass in the same manner.
Group performance and risk reviews are undertaken and monitored on a regular basis and reported to the Board.
The Group is committed to a policy of recruitment and promotion on the basis of aptitude and ability without discrimination. Applications for employment by disabled persons are given full and fair consideration for suitable vacancies, having regard to their particular aptitudes and abilities. Where a person becomes disabled while in the Group's employment a suitable position will be sought for that person within the Group where practical.
Meetings are held with employees to discuss the operations and progress of the business and employees are encouraged to become involved in the success of the Group through save as you earn share option schemes. In particular, Executive Directors make half yearly results presentations to all employees and encourage questions and dialogue on any matters pertaining to the performance or activities within the Group. In addition, Treatt's Information Exchange Committee (IEC) exists in order to encourage a further exchange of ideas and information between the Company and its employees in the UK. Treatt in the USA operates a scheme enabling all levels of employee below manager to meet with the CEO in small groups over lunch to discuss any work related issues they choose. This provides the CEO with an opportunity to respond directly to concerns and take any appropriate action required. Board members make a point of visiting all Group affiliates and regularly carry out site visits and tours, and thereby engage in meaningful discussions with employees at all levels within the organisation. Bonus schemes, based on the performance of the business, remain in place.