" We continued to care for people around us, drive forward to develop sustainable value chain,
manage our impact to the environment,while upholding good corporate governance and promoting
the culture of shared value creation. "
As we are all aware, 2020 was an unimaginably difficult year. Around the world, everyone has been directly impacted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, both personally and professionally. Inevitably, Minor International, along with many other hospitality operators, was severely impacted by the pandemic. Nevertheless, it is in our DNA that we do not shy away from difficulties. We acted quickly to ensure our business sustainability, while taking into consideration the benefits of our multiple stakeholders.
Amid the challenges, we still stay true to our Sustainability Vision “to strengthen long-term capabilities and performance through sustainability”. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented a Business Beyond COVID Committee to formulate a strategic recovery roadmap amidst the challenges and uncertainties. We identified and prioritized issues, and classified them into immediate, medium term and long-term priorities. We continued to care for people around us, drive forward to develop sustainable value chain, manage our impact to the environment, while upholding good corporate governance and promoting the culture of shared value creation.
The pandemic created adverse impact not only to businesses but also to the society. Minor International reached out to our communities and lent support where we can. Throughout 2020, we have empowered and supported over 540,000 people through our various people development and CSR initiatives. Through our operations and collaborations with relief organizations, Minor International contributed almost 200,000 meals to community members and healthcare personnel. In addition, The Pizza Company launched its first-ever “Buy One Give One” campaign, whereby customers could select to join us in giving free pizzas to shelters and schools across Thailand. A total of 5,000 pizzas were distributed. Minor Hotels and NH Hotel Group contributed over 9,500 room nights to people in need, medical staff and non-severe COVID-19 patients. As we navigated through the toughest time in Minor International’s history, it was inevitable that we had to go through workforce optimization exercise. To help alleviate some pressure off our employees, we provided temporary support schemes such as food allowance and interest-free loans. Minor International and Heinecke Foundation also continued to support youth education and distributed 974 scholarships to students in need.
With much uncertainties, sustainable value chain, from our suppliers to customers, is vital to the sustainability of our business. Since 2019, 72% of Thailand’s and Australia’s local critical and high-impact food & packaging suppliers were assessed on sustainability risk and we aim to complete 100% assessment of this supplier group by 2023.
In addition, health was on top of our customers’ priorities in 2020. Building on our already high standards of cleanliness, Minor International implemented enhanced safety and hygiene at our hotels and restaurants in order to protect our guests, customers and team members. Our hotels introduced health and hygiene measures such as Anantara’s Stay with Peace of Mind, AvaniSHIELD, Oaks SureStay, Elewana’s Essential Elements, and Feel Safe at NH. Minor Food implemented the “zero touch delivery” protocol and received the “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” certification. As guests seek healthy lifestyle solutions, Minor Hotels has formed partnerships with various wellness specialists to offer new services to our customers such as new integrative wellness and medical retreat and IV drip bar. Minor Food stayed on course to offer healthy alternatives to our customers and has committed to our new sustainability goal of having at least one new healthy menu offered to customers each year from all Minor Food brands by 2024.
2020 presented various challenges and opportunities not only to the economy and the society but also to the environment. Minor International remained committed in striving to minimize the environmental impact from our operations and to promote biodiversity conservation. While the hotel occupancy has declined so significantly that our targeted measure of carbon dioxide emission and water use per room sold became irrelevant, our overall utilization has also significantly reduced. We have reduced the use of single-use plastic categories, replacing some with more eco-friendly materials as well as redesigning our packaging to reduce plastic where possible.
As a result, we reduced the use of single-use plastic by 21% compared to 2018 baseline, tracking well towards our target of 75% reduction by 2024. We encouraged sustainable protection of lives on-land and below-water and their habitats especially in the proximity of our hotel properties. Presently, 80% of our nature-based hotels have at least one long-term conservation initiative.As a result, we reduced the use of single-use plastic by 21% compared to 2018 baseline, tracking well towards our target of 75% reduction by 2024. We encouraged sustainable protection of lives on-land and below-water and their habitats especially in the proximity of our hotel properties. Presently, 80% of our nature-based hotels have at least one long-term conservation initiative.Moreover, COVID-19 has also impacted many of the captive elephants in Thailand as elephant camps were forced to halt operations. Our Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation has accepted 3 additional elephants to our shelter during 2020. The foundation also made contributions to support veterinary treatment and care for elephants around Thailand.
Minor International is committed to ensuring strong corporate governance and responsible business culture. As a testament, we received “Excellent” CG Scoring by the Thai Institute of Directors Association for the 8th consecutive year and the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard Award - ASEAN Asset Class PLCs, organized by the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum and Asian Development Bank.
Sustainability cannot be achieved without the creation of shared value between the business and our stakeholders in the society and the environment. We continued to emphasize this importance through the promotion of Minor Sustainability Awards whereby business units that demonstrated the ability to create competitive business while addressing social and environmental needs are recognized. I am proud to report that the achievements are also recognized externally as demonstrated by Minor International being included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets Index for the 7th consecutive year and the FTSE4Good Index Series for the 5th consecutive year. We also received MSCI ESG Rating of AAA, and were included in the list of Thailand Sustainability Investment by the Stock Exchange of Thailand for the 6th consecutive year.
Finally, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all our stakeholders – our employees, customers, shareholders, partners, suppliers, creditors, government, non-profit organizations and communities – for the support throughout this extremely difficult time. I would also like to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of our team members’ hard work and perseverance, in continuing to drive performance and taking care of our stakeholders during what was an unprecedented 2020. Our team spirit and solidarity will reinforce our strength, and we will emerge from this crisis a much stronger, more efficient and sustainable company.
William Ellwood Heinecke