8 March 2019
A blog from Dr Mark Carr, CEO of AB Sugar
International Women’s Day is an inspiring and uplifting event that celebrates the social, economic and cultural achievements of women past and present, whilst pushing for future progress.
But of course promoting gender equality should not be assigned to just one day, it should be happening all the time and employers, like ourselves at AB Sugar have a major role in driving the change forward.
Recognising women in our supply chain and changing perceptions
As one of the world’s leading sugar businesses, we continue to cultivate a diverse and inclusive approach within our organisation as well in the wider communities in which we operate; supporting our ambition to reach our 2030 commitments as part of our ‘Global Mind, Local Champions’ sustainability framework. This means for us to continue to grow sustainably, we need to inspire the next generation to ensure we maintain a strong talent pipeline. Crucial to this is improving perceptions of careers in manufacturing and commodity sectors such as sugar, demonstrating that roles in our industry offer so much more than they might expect. Promoting the breadth and scope of roles available and the opportunities that these can bring is only part of the task, we must also recognise the women currently within our supply chain who make an impact every day.
From our growers like Amy in the UK or Nomusa in South Africa who is a grower but also one of our haulier contractors; to Sindisiwe or Margarida; both cooperative leaders in Africa; to our employees such as Wen or Silvia; to name but a few. We recognise that every single person in our supply chain enables us to be the business that we are today; further insight and individual stories from across our supply chain can be found here.
Highlighting the efforts and inputs of women such as the above is integral to educating and exciting the next generation about a potential career in our industry, ultimately helping our sector to grow sustainably for many years to come.
Creating opportunities in rural communities
We also do a great deal of work to empower women within the communities in which we operate. In some regions, women are vulnerable as they can hold less power due to societal views and gender bias; which we want to play our role in addressing within our supply chain.
Examples include working in partnership with USAID whom we have helped to educate female small-holder farmers about their land rights and increase the technical skills of community members - half of which are women; and working with Solidaridad Network Southern Africa Trust since 2016 to support small holder sugarcane farmers in the area. This has focused on building growers’ skills in leadership business and financial management, as well as good corporate governance.
Pushing for progress
The work we are doing to create social value and build thriving, healthy communities is already going a long way to supporting women, but to build our business sustainably the work cannot stop there.
We are going to continue to push for progress towards gender equality, making sure that women across our whole business are empowered every day – not just on International Women’s Day.
Notes to editors:
- ‘Recognising inspiring women on International Women’s Day’ 2018 – Blog from Dr Mark Carr, CEO
- The percentage of senior management who are women within the AB Sugar Group rose from 23% in 2014-2017, to 28% in 2018. ABF Corporate Responsibility Update 2018: https://www.abf.co.uk/responsibility