2021 was another year of hard work, dedication and agility by the Minor team members amid prolonged COVID-19 uncertainty. At its onset, there was no clarity as to when or how quickly economies would rebound. As we focused on shoring up our operational and financial strengths, we did not lose sight on maintaining sustainability to strengthen our long-term capabilities and performance in preparation for a turnaround. Looking ahead, although there continue to be headwinds, I believe that our diversified portfolio, proven platform, and our commitment to create positive impacts on our people, value chain and planet, will help us to excel. Therefore, we are already looking past the recovery and gearing up for sustainable growth post-COVID-19.
While COVID-19 may have captured everyone’s attention in the past two years, Minor is fully aware of the urgent global agenda on Climate Change that adversely affects all living creatures. In 2021 we started to deploy the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) recommendations to the enterprise risk management, which were then incorporated into the development of our sustainability strategy, goals and programs.
In November 2021, the Board of Directors approved for Minor International to commit to become a Net-zero Carbon organization by 2050. We are fully committed in striving to minimize the environmental impact from our operations and to promote biodiversity conservation. Minor Food implemented restaurant energy saving project across all Thailand equity stores and 188 The Pizza Company’s franchise stores, where we have seen significant savings both in carbon dioxide emissions and costs. We stayed on course to reduce single-use plastic by 75% within 2024, and to date reduced annual volume by 27% compared to the 2018 baseline through packaging redesign or replacement with more eco-friendly materials. We continue to support the protection of lives on-land and below-water and their habitats, with 87% of our nature-based hotels have at least one long-term conservation initiative. The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation has taken in one new elephant in 2021 and continued caring for 20 elephants and their mahouts and families. It also extended its contribution to support elephant veterinarians treatments and fodders for elephants in other camps in Thailand that experienced hardship.
With the pandemic continuing to impact not only our business but also the livelihood of our communities, Minor reached out to support where we can and ensured the development of our team members remain one of our priorities. Minor deployed a 3-Tier Human Capital Development Approach that covered the development and well-being promotion for our stakeholders in the grassroot communities, our workforce, and talents & leaders. In 2019, we announced a goal of “1 million people developed and supported by 2023” and I’m delighted to report that this goal was already achieved by the end of 2021 through our various people development and CSR initiatives. Keeping up with this good momentum, in 2022 we challenged ourselves to a new long-term sustainability goal of “3 million people developed and supported by 2030”. We aim to continue elevating sustainable development of the people within our organization and communities through initiatives that supports education, job opportunities and career advancement, health and well-being, and the environment where we operate. Furthermore, to ensure that sustainability is truly integrated into our operations, Minor introduced sustainability KPI to all our executive committee members and management at the corporate office and Minor Hotels properties, which are cascaded down to their teams.
Sustainable value chain, from our suppliers to customers, is crucial to the sustainability of our business especially in these times of much uncertainty. We forged ahead with expanding our sustainable supply chain approach to our Australia hub. We made great progress in assessing Thailand and Australia local critical food & packaging suppliers on sustainability risk, and we aim to include Thailand project management suppliers in 2022. Responding to increased customers’ preference for healthy and sustainable lifestyle, four Minor Food brands in Thailand, Australia and the Middle East have collectively introduced more than 50 new healthy menus in 2021. Staying true to our core value of being innovative and delivering great customer experiences, Minor Food’s Young Entrepreneur Program (YEP) collaborated with the Minor Food Innovation Team (M-FIT) to develop and market new innovations. Some of the brainchildren of this program include Naughty & Rice, healthy poke rice bowl and Jooly cold-pressed juice brands. In addition, Minor Hotels embarked upon developing a “Multidimensional Wellness Program” covering wellness from physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social, to environmental dimensions, starting at our Anantara properties in Asia.
As a foundation to sustainability, we continue to ensure strong corporate governance and responsible business culture are in place. Minor International received “Excellent” CG Scoring by the Thai Institute of Directors Association for the 9th consecutive year in 2021 and remains a certified member of the Private Sector Collective Action Coalition Against Corruption (CAC).
Notwithstanding the challenges, Minor forged ahead with the embracement of shared value creation to continue uplifting sustainability standards. I’m very proud that in 2021 Minor International maintained our inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets Index for the 8th consecutive year, the FTSE4Good Index Series for the 6th consecutive year, and received MSCI ESG Rating of AA. We were also awarded “Highly Commended in Sustainability” from the Stock Exchange of Thailand and included in the list of Thailand Sustainability Investment by the Stock Exchange of Thailand for the 7th consecutive year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our stakeholders – our employees, customers, shareholders, partners, suppliers, creditors, government, non-profit organizations and communities – for the continued support and trust in our company and management. My heartfelt appreciation also extends to our people for their dedication and perseverance, for outlasting such a challenging time and helping us emerge from it an even better, stronger, and more sustainable company. I am very excited and look forward to a promising 2022. There will be more challenges and uncertainties, but we have passed the worst, and are now working toward a very sustainable rebound in 2022.
William Ellwood Heinecke