Responsibility governance

All our businesses operate within a clear corporate responsibility governance framework. This is defined at Group level but emphasises that decisions for our businesses should be made collaboratively, rather than imposed unilaterally.

On a regular basis, the Board conducts a detailed review of each of our business segments. This covers the materiality of sustainability and ESG factors. The Board has overall responsibility for reviewing ESG factors across ABF with support from:

  • our Director of Legal Services and Company Secretary, Paul Lister – who reviews all ESG aspects;
  • our Group Corporate Responsibility Director, Katharine Stewart – who leads the Corporate Responsibility Hub team; and
  • our Chief People and Performance Officer (CPPO), Sue Whalley – who reviews all employee factors, including safety, mental health, financial wellbeing, employee development and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), workforce engagement, as well as procurement and security.

Leadership teams in each ABF business have responsibility and are accountable for their ESG programmes. They can access specialist support if needed from our Corporate Responsibility Hub team and from the teams supporting Paul Lister and Sue Whalley.

We have processes in place across the Group, along with policies and procedures, to help our businesses address critical governance risks, such as bribery and corruption.

Once a year the Board and CPPO review progress made in respect of talent, DE&I workforce engagement, physical safety, wellbeing and environmental compliance. The businesses also include these factors in their individual updates to the Board.

Governance framework

Climate governance

The Board oversees our businesses’ management of climate-related risks and opportunities. It is updated annually on environmental issues and climate change by our Group Corporate Responsibility Director and Chief People and Performance Officer. Individual businesses may also include climate related matters in their regular updates to the Board.

Both the Board and the Audit Committee have been briefed specifically on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting (see Annual Report pages 83 to 93 and the appendix of the Responsibility Report). In 2021 we created a cross-functional steering committee to oversee governance of the TCFD programme.

Each business is responsible for identifying and managing its climate risks. At Group level we also undertake an annual risk assessment, which covers climate risk. The results of these risk assessments are reviewed at business and divisional level before being reported to the Board by our Group Director of Financial Control. The Board also assesses risk during business performance reviews.

GHG emission targets are decided and set by each business based on what is appropriate and relevant and each business is responsible for developing action plans to achieve these targets.

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