Social and ethics committee report

The social and ethics committee acts on behalf of the board and is responsible for evaluating social and ethical responsibilities and making recommendations to the board thereon. The committee has all the functions and responsibilities provided for in the Companies Act. The committee members and attendance at meetings are set out in corporate governance.

Focus areas of the committee during the year

As the leading specialist self storage REIT in South Africa, Stor-Age is committed to making a real difference by implementing leading and sustainable business transformation and employment diversification plans.

The main area of focus for the committee during the year was therefore the development and implementation of the group’s Transformation Plan. Stor-Age views transformation as a strategic business imperative, and this plan outlines ten key milestones to drive transformation in the business, effective from 2019 to 2021.

The main objectives of the plan include:

  • Addressing the priority elements of the Property Sector Code
  • Ensuring the benefits of equity ownership and participation in management control are extended to previously disadvantaged groups
  • Creating meaningful job opportunities and developing skills in the communities we serve
  • Contributing meaningfully to enterprise and supplier development

The social and ethics committee undertook extensive research during the year and was assisted by various independent consultants to inform the development of the plan. Multiple and ongoing project meetings were held, and included the attendance of all executive directors.

In addition, the board appointed a cross-functional transformation committee to oversee implementation of the plan. The transformation committee is chaired by a senior member of the management team and includes members of HR, finance, sales and marketing, and learning and development. All appointed members have been assigned responsibilities to help drive the achievement of the objectives outlined above.

The transformation committee reports is progress to the social and ethics committee, which is responsible for monitoring the performance of the transformation committee and the impact of its activities.

Terms of reference

The duties and responsibilities of the committee are set out in a formal terms of reference which have been approved by the committee and the board of directors.

The main duties of the committee include:

  • Social and economic development
  • Good corporate citizenship
  • ­The environment, health and public safety
  • Customer relationships
  • Labour and employment

The committee is further tasked with:

  • Reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of the company’s engagement and interaction with its stakeholders;
  • Considering substantive national and international regulatory developments as well as best practice in the fields of social and ethics management;
  • Reviewing and approving the company’s CSI policy; and
  • Determining clearly articulated ethical standards (the Code of Ethics) and ensuring that the company takes measures to adhere to them in all aspects of the business, thus achieving a sustainable corporate culture in the group.

The committee’s focus areas are reported on in more detail in acting sustainably.

Mechanisms to encourage ethical behaviour such as the Code of Ethics and corporate citizenship policies were confirmed as adequate by the committee in the period under review.

Future focus areas for the committee:

The priority focus for the committee going forward will be overseeing the implementation of the Transformation Plan.

In addition, the committee will continue to oversee the group’s stakeholder engagement processes.

The committee is satisfied that it has fulfilled its responsibilities in accordance with its terms of reference during the reporting period.

Graham Blackshaw

Social and ethics committee Chairman

11 June 2018