Corporate Social Responsibility

COMMITMENT TO OUR PEOPLE, LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND ENSURING A SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT 

We take our social responsibility seriously and this year have chosen to provide stakeholders information about how we engage with our people, environment and local communities. We are committed to behaving in a way that is beneficial to all stakeholders.

Our People 

The nature of our business, as a value-adding distributor, means expertise and people skills are at the core of what we do and how we maintain our competitive advantage. Having a people-oriented ethos, where team work and commitment are recognised, is central to the success of our strategy. We are committed to developing and supporting our staff across all Group companies and we pride ourselves on our home-grown talent, with a significant number of our senior managers having built their careers from within the Group.

We strive to create the best possible working environment for our workforce, which in turn allows our people to deliver an outstanding service to our external stakeholders. Continued investment in our people’s technical expertise, extensive product knowledge, working culture and strong customer service offering sets us apart. We believe that supporting growth and development of individuals, helps us attract and retain talented people, at all levels within the Group.

The Group is committed to promoting a strong ethical and values driven culture throughout the organisation.

We have developed and continually communicate a set of values that we consider important to success:

  • Giving our best
  • Empathy and respect
  • Cooperation and engagement
  • Continuous improvement
  • Trustworthiness
  • Open communication
  • Fairness 

We understand that our people need to enjoy what they do. We recognise those who demonstrate our values both informally and through recognition schemes. We also believe in our employees participating in the ownership of the Group. Our directors and employees owned over 40% of our share capital at the end of December 2018. For each of the last three years we have awarded free shares to eligible employees across our geographies, with approximately 400,000 free shares being awarded to 515 employees since our IPO in 2016.

When we welcome new companies to the Group through acquisition, we take particular care to plan the integration in a way that blends the culture and values of the acquired businesses with those of the Group. We run a robust onboarding process, so that newly acquired businesses have a clear understanding of the key activities and processes required for a smooth transition into the Group, but we also appreciate that each business has its own character. We have invested in our integration capabilities and believe that our approach accelerates an acquired business’s growth whilst remaining sensitive to its values. We have found time and time again, that when we seek to acquire a business, we are searching for partnerships where we have a natural cultural fit and a matched outlook in terms of how we behave – this approach has served us well.

Midwich recognises wellbeing and mental health as paramount to a happy working environment and we back this up with an extensive package of staff benefits and professional support services. In 2018, we strengthened our support offering by training some of our employees as mental health first aiders. We are now better positioned to provide initial support to a colleague who may be experiencing a mental health issue and guide them towards appropriate treatment and other sources of help.

In 2018, Midwich Limited celebrated winning Distributor of the Year at the industry’s leading awards ceremony, the AV Awards. It is the first company to win this prestigious award for three consecutive years. The team also celebrated winning the ‘Best Company to work for’ award at the CRN Sales and Marketing Awards.

Kern & Stelly won three manufacturer awards in 2018, including, SMART’s Distributor of the year 2018 (EMEA), ATLONA’s Distributor of the year 2018 (worldwide, outside the US) and Legrand’s Distributor of the Year.

In Spain, Earpro celebrated Harman’s EMEA 30 Year Anniversary Award.

We place great emphasis on providing an environment where our people can develop their skills and enhance their knowledge. Over the last few years we have invested in a variety of programmes to enhance our talent and skills base. For example, in the UK, we operate a variety of programmes to help develop the technical, leadership and personal skills of our team. We believe that the success of our internal talent programmes has resulted in a high proportion of senior management having developed their careers within the business. 

Our environment 

We are conscious of our broader environmental responsibilities and are taking positive steps towards environmental good practice. We are focused on improving our energy efficiency, reducing packaging, managing our waste responsibly and reducing our carbon emissions.

For example, as a distributor of video conferencing (VC) equipment, we have utilised this technology across our Group by installing VC capabilities in each meeting space, which has meant colleagues have reduced the need to travel for meetings.

Our activities do not stop there. In addition to ensuring we make the best use of our own technology, we also have a number of initiatives taking place across the globe further enhancing our ‘sustainability for the future’ mentality, including but not limited to:

  • Midwich Australia joined the Australian Packaging Covenant Association during the year. The association provides initiatives to reduce the harmful effects of packaging on the Australian environment.
  • In France, Sidev has implemented schemes for WEEE collect and payment; paper recycling and cartridge ink recycling. In our French offices we are discouraging the use of plastic and encourage healthier lifestyles including giving staff access to free fruit.
  • Having reviewed the energy efficiency of their offices, Holdan and Sound Technology, both based in the UK, installed Solar panels, LED efficient lighting and motion lighting to reduce their electricity consumption.
  • In Germany, Kern & Stelly introduced healthy organic snacks into the office for employees and is championing the reduction of the use of paper through better processes as part of their “green” office initiative.

These are examples of how our Group companies are taking steps towards a more sustainable working environment. Better waste management and minimising our use of resources across the businesses will be a strong focus over the next twelve months.

Our local communities

To promote our ethical values, we actively encourage and support community involvement. We are dedicated to making a real difference to the communities in which we operate across the Group. We also respect and value the things that make our people individuals and we are committed to creating a culture of inclusion.

Our teams regularly engage in volunteering and fundraising. In return, we support our people by providing time off and support to facilitate work in the community.

Our head office operates an in-house Charity Committee whose purpose is to raise awareness and funds for our chosen charities and employee members are proud to choose a local charity to support every two years. In 2017/2018, our UK employees chose to support a local charity called Nelson’s Journey. This charity supports children and young people, living in Norfolk (UK), who have experienced the death of a significant person in their life, helping them to move forward positively. Over the two-year period, staff have raised donations through an enjoyable series of fundraising events, ranging from sporting events, silent auctions, quiz nights, community raffles and cake baking through to more daring events such as sky diving. For the 2017–18 years, staff based at our head office raised an impressive £45,834 for Nelson’s Journey.

We are also getting involved around the globe in supporting our local communities and have some fantastic examples of how we are really making a difference to those around us. We are happy to raise donations through a range of creative activities, whilst having fun along the way. These can range from ‘happy waffle days’ to charity golf days and cycling challenges.

  • In Midwich Australia, there has been increased focus on autism awareness, especially in children, which has resulted in campaigns to support the ongoing funding of the ‘national disability insurance scheme’ for those affected, as well as appearance on national TV and newspapers further promoting autism awareness. We have also supported other charities including ‘Can Teen’ (teenagers with cancer), Puka Up and the McGrath Foundation.
  • In Kern & Stelly in Germany, we invited our employees to support homeless people by donating small product packages. Further charities that have been supported have included ‘Save the Children’ and ‘The last Wish’, which provides donations for the elderly or very sick people, where we can help fulfil one of their last wishes.
  • Within our Spanish office, Earpro have brought together the power of donations and social media, by associating donations with the number of ‘likes’ they receive (€1 for each like). This activity has supported fund raising for ‘Fundacion Pequeno Deseo’ in Spain and ‘Make a Wish’ in Portugal. In addition, Earpro support a foundation called ‘Fundacio Ginesta’ which offers services to companies working with people with disabilities.
  • Sound Technology in the UK has committed to supporting children through an education focus by donating musical instruments to local schools, encouraging children to play with instruments, which are often out of reach for many due to cost. In addition, directors and senior staff are encouraged to become involved in charities within the music sector. The MD and FD are trustees for ‘Music for Youth’ which is a registered charity with the aim of providing events which allows children the opportunity to perform. The charity targets schools in areas of hardship, those who may be outside the reach of normal education channels and special schools for children with learning disabilities.
  • Within our Holdan office in the UK, we support ‘Prevent-UK’ which is a charity that works with young children to ensure they are given the best support through education for issues such as substance abuse, crime and Internet safety.