Softline, like every business, is deeply intertwined with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns. Whilst we recognize the ESG challenges of working in many developing and emerging markets, we strive to build sustainable, equitable, healthy, and diverse communities through a combination of innovative digital transformation and information technology solutions, combined with strong environmental, social and governance performance. This commitment informs every aspect of our business, including how we design and build new projects, operate our portfolio, and collaborate with stakeholders.
We are incredibly proud of our successes, for example, we were highlighted as an ESG role model in Russia, receiving the Microsoft Partner of the Year “Community Response Award” for our efforts to support local businesses and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1.2 Why ESG Matters
We believe that getting our ESG proposition right is not only the right thing to do, but it will also help us with higher value creation.
With the challenges we face as a global community, such as global warming, pollution, inequality and poverty, we believe there has never been a more important time for responsible businesses like ours to continue to ensure we are embedding ESG into our business approach.
At Softline we aim to embed environmental stewardship in everything we do. Our environment policy defines the principles, goals, and focal areas of Softline’s activities in the field of environment protection and safety. Its purpose is to ensure environmentally sound and sustainable development of the company in the short and long term and to minimize negative impact on the environment. As an example, we have a number of waste management initiatives implemented across our offices aimed at recycling plastics and minimizing paper usage.
Additionally, we assist our customers and partners in implementing advanced methods and technologies to reduce adverse environmental impact and resource consumption.
2.2 Statement on Climate Change
We are committed to driving down our energy and carbon impacts, as we believe that climate change is one of the greatest risks to our world. Our sustainability program is committed to environmentally sustainable initiatives that deliver near-term efficiency, value, and health for our business.
2.3 Protecting the Environment
As described above, our environment policy defines the principles, goals, objectives and focal areas of the company’s activities in the field of environment protection and safety. We select the scope of business, methods of operation and types of resources, which affect the environment to the minimum possible extent, plus we assist our customers and partners in implementing advanced methods and technologies to reduce adverse environment impact and resource consumption. Softline is ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) accredited to ensure that we remain aligned to best practice.
Corporate social responsibility is an indispensable part of our activities. We make sure that we look after our own people by making our business a fun, exciting, safe and rewarding place to work. We also have a long history of providing meaningful, and often transformational support to the communities in which we operate.
3.2 Compensation and Benefits
We know that the first step in hiring and retaining the best talent is to create safe and inspiring workplaces where people feel valued. We offer competitive compensation and benefits to all regular full-time employees, including but not limited to paid holiday, vacation, and sick leave.
3.3 Culture, Engagement and Growth
We create fun, spirited work environments that reward innovation and collaboration at all levels. Leaders are encouraged to demonstrate an ‘open door policy’ and employees can provide feedback through their annual performance reviews. We conduct regular Employee Engagement Surveys and hold periodic employee ‘all hands’ events to enable an engaged and fully informed workforce. We also aim to foster both personal and professional growth for employees at all levels of the organization through annual performance reviews, role-specific training and professional development opportunities.
3.4 Health and Safety
The health and safety of our employees, vendors and customers is of the utmost importance to us. Our Health and Safety policy is adopted to ensure safety in our work practices, improve labour conditions, and the occupational health, safety and wellbeing of employees. To give an example, we’ve recently launched a new online portal, with 5 wellness programs such as “You Matter” which aims to give support and improve both the physical and mental health of our employees.
3.5 Diversity and Inclusion
We embrace and value diversity in all its forms, whether gender, age, ethnicity or cultural background. Equal opportunity is integral to our recruitment process, as we aim to develop a community of diverse talent and we have people from over 50 different nationalities working as part of Softline. We seek to maintain a positive workplace, free from discrimination and harassment. We champion pay equity and mutual respect, promoting an environment of fairness and equality. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion applies to the highest levels of the organization, including at the Board level, where we recognize that diversity strengthens board performance and promotes long-term shareholder value.
3.6 Supporting our Communities
Corporate social responsibility projects are an indispensable part of our business. We continually strive to add socially beneficial projects to our record, with a primary focus on helping especially vulnerable groups, such as orphaned or disadvantaged children, the elderly and disabled. We support our local communities in the markets in which we operate by helping to meet basic nutritional needs and by providing opportunities to improve education and tech literacy. Together with the Yumira Charitable Foundation, we supported the “Taste of Life – Connection of Generations” project, aimed at helping elderly people in Russia develop their internet skills and improve their understanding of modern technology.
We also often participate in and sponsor competitions and events for pupils and students in the field of information security. For example, we sponsored a hackathon for orphaned children from all around the Moscow region organised by the Istok charitable foundation, providing the hackathon participants with personal laptops for further training.
Our teams from all around the world are committed to help those ones that need it the most. We’ve launched different CSR initiatives in India alongside organizations like Ayang Trust or Annamrita Foundation, among others, to fight against children’s malnutrition and hunger and support the elder to have better life conditions and cover their basic needs. In Brazil, we are also supporting some NGO’s projects especially to help those that have suffered the most during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We consider governance practices to be essential to creating and preserving value for its shareholders and other stakeholders. This includes a sound approach to corporate governance that aims to comply with all applicable laws, rules, regulations and policies, as well as adherence to corporate values and business principles.
We have an effective and highly skilled Board of Directors. We promote board independence and embrace board diversity in all its facets, including skills, experience, gender, ethnicity, and race. Our corporate Values, underpinned by our robust Corporate Ethics and Compliance Code (our “Code”) outline key principles and rules to help our Board exercise its responsibilities and serve the interests of the company, its shareholders and society.
4.2 Ethics and Human Rights
Our directors and all employees, including senior management, conduct themselves in accordance with the highest moral and ethical standards, informed by our Code. We are committed to ensuring a fair workplace for our employees as well as partners with whom we do business. We have strict policies to protect against unlawful discrimination and harassment. Our Values and business principles encourage honest and direct communication to resolve issues and concerns in an expeditious manner. We also have a “Speak Up” channel that provides an alternative and anonymous method of reporting suspected compliance violations, unlawful or unethical behaviour, or fraud.
Our Code also reflects our longstanding dedication to the preservation of basic rights and human dignity in our workplace and beyond. Softline holds human rights to be an essential component of our business. We reject all forms of forced or child labour, as well as contemporary slavery and human trafficking. This position applies not only to our company but also to our business partners.
5. Scope of this Statement
This is Softline’s first ESG Statement and was approved in September 2021.