Our first fifty years were merely the beginning of our journey, to build a strong and sustainable foundation for an even greater future to come.
2018 was a milestone year for Minor International. Minor Group celebrated the 50-year anniversary, which not only afforded us the occasion to reflect upon and celebrate our past successes, but also inspired us to look ahead to the next exciting challenges and growth opportunities for Minor International going forward.
2018 was also a transformational year for Minor International, as we made major strategic investments in NH Hotel Group and Benihana. This, coupled with Minor’s footprint over the years, have cemented our status as a leading global multinational, with operations spanning Australia, Asia, Africa and the Middle East through to Europe and the Americas.
Looking to the future, I may not envision Minor International to be the largest hospitality company, but we will remain a smart, pragmatic and sustainable company that is nimble, spots and capitalizes upon opportunities and moves faster than our competitors, while still maintaining high standard of good corporate governance and risk management. We will continue to unrelentingly focus on delivering value and creating positive impact to our stakeholders, and contributing back to the economy, society and environment of the countries in which we operate.
With the strong and sustainable foundation established by Minor Group over the last 50 years and the recent business transformation, we leap into the future with our aspiration of competing on the world stage, sustainably. Our sustainability efforts aim for Minor to become the catalyst in elevating the capabilities and well-being of our people and communities, the sustainability of our value chain and the protection of our planet.
We aspire in Elevating People Development, focusing on continuously developing our leaders and employees, investing in educational and career support for children, youth and underprivileged community members; and promoting a social responsibility mindset among our people and peers. This year, we remained committed to develop our people, from entry level to leaders and add on elements of sustainability to the development programs where possible. We embarked on developing a holistic education support and skill development programs that links schools under Minor’s support to the Minor Corporate University (MCU) program.
In 2018 over 8,000 students enrolled into our MCU program and were placed as interns in our food, hotel and lifestyle businesses. The Pizza Company’s Book Club program continued to flourish with participation from over 230,000 students. The Heinecke Foundation and Minor have given out scholarships to over 1,300 well deserved students. In Thailand, we’ve created work for 189 persons with disability in their communities from our collaboration with the Social Innovation Foundation. Moreover, our promotion of social responsibility mindset has yielded over 31,000 volunteer hours from all year round CSR activities all over the world which positively impacted over 51,000 beneficiaries.
As for our effort in Elevating Sustainable Value Chain, we are committed to establish long-term partnerships with our suppliers and business partners to achieve mutual and sustainable success, and to empathize our customers’ needs and enrich our customers’ experiences through end-to-end engagement, and by ensuring the delivery of quality products and services. In 2018, none of Minor Food’s and Minor Hotels’ ingredients are produced from partially hydrogenated oils that are the main source of trans fat. Burger King and The Pizza Company also launched “Healthy Ingredients program” which aims to replace artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives with healthier ingredients by 2019. Realizing that to be competitive, we have to anticipate and satisfy customers’ aspirations, Minor hosted “Minor Tasting The Future Hackathon” to reimagine the future of food retail service and casual dining. This gives us the opportunity to look into the future and open up to new partners such as innovators and disruptors to address our customers’ unmet needs. Our hotels continue to provide our customers in numerous parts of the world with engaging experiences with local culture and heritage, while supporting the local economy through employment and sourcing. On the supply chain front, in Thailand we have initiated supplier sustainability audit which we plan to integrate with the existing quality assurance audit. Such audit plan is planned to be expanded to all tier 1 food and packaging suppliers within the next 5 years. We hope to use Thailand hub supply chain as a model for sustainable supply chain practice for other regions.
This year Minor Hotels has set an environmental target to reduce energy & water usage and carbon dioxide emission from operation by 20% by 2023 (from 2016 baseline) in our pledge of Elevating Environmental Protection. In addition, we strive to reduce plastic wastes and implemented a number of initiatives including no plastic straws in all Minor Hotels properties and Minor Food’s single use plastic reduction campaign spearheaded by Burger King. Furthermore, we continue to promote biodiversity and conservation through activities, support, and education through our Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation and Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, as well as through the collaborations with other like-minded partners which resulted in the work such as the Holistic Approach to Coral Reefs Protection in the Maldives, the Cardamom Tented Camp in Cambodia, and the Land & Life Foundation in Africa.
We continue to drive for Elevating Good Governance, which we believe is the critical foundation for achieving true sustainability. In 2018, 100% or over 23,000 of our Thailand-based employees have completed the online training for Minor’s Code of Conduct and Anti-Corruption, and Minor has launched the “No Gift” policy during the new year festive season. In addition, Minor Hotels is now a member of The CODE, which promotes the protection of children from sexual exploitation in tourism industry.
As testaments to our drive for sustainability, I am very proud to report that this year, Minor International received Best SET Sustainability Awards 2018 for the first time. In addition, we have been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets Index for the fifth consecutive year, the FTSE4Good Index Series for the third consecutive year, and the list of Thailand Sustainability Investment (THSI) 2018 by the SET for the fourth consecutive year. Most recently in February 2019, Minor International was also included as a constituent in the MSCI ESG Leaders Indexes.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to express our sincere appreciation for all the trust, support, collaborations and contribution from all our stakeholders – our customers, employees, business partners, shareholders, government, non-profit organizations and the communities – that helped shape Minor to what we are today. I look forward to entering this new and exciting chapter of Minor International by continuing to create more sustainable shared successes with and for our stakeholders into the future.
William E. Heinecke
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer