Stakeholder and shareholder engagement
Our scale, employing 133,000 people and with operations in 53 countries across the world means, that our activities matter to, or have an impact on, many people. As a result, the Company engages regularly with its stakeholders at group and/or business level, depending on the particular issue.
At a group level we engage with a variety of stakeholder groups including shareholders, governments, media and investors through a range of methods. As part of daily business activities and through structured processes, our businesses routinely engage with customers, suppliers, regulators and industry bodies.
Detailed information about our approach to stakeholder engagement and specific activities this year can be found on pages 14 to 19 (which contains our Section 172 statement), pages 72 to 83 (on responsibility) and page 98 (on workforce engagement) of the Annual Report 2020.
The Board recognises its responsibility for ensuring that a satisfactory dialogue takes place with shareholders. It maintains an active programme of engagement with investors, the aim being to develop shareholders’ understanding of the Company’s strategy, operations and performance and to provide the Board with awareness of the views of significant shareholders. At each Board meeting, the directors are briefed on shareholder meetings that have taken place and on feedback received, including any significant concerns raised.
Each year, the Chairman issues an invitation to and holds meetings with the Company’s largest institutional shareholders to hear their views and discuss any issues or concerns on governance, strategy and remuneration.
On the day of the announcement of the final and interim results, the Company’s largest shareholders, together with financial analysts, are invited to a presentation with a question and answer session by the Chief Executive and Finance Director, with webcast presentations of the results available for all shareholders through the Investors’ section of this website. Following the results, the executive team holds one-to-one and group meetings (virtually where necessary) with institutional shareholders and potential investors.
The Company Secretary acts as a focal point for communications on matters of corporate governance and corporate responsibility.
The Senior Independent Director is available to shareholders in the event that communication with the Chairman, Chief Executive or Finance Director has failed to resolve concerns or where such contact is inappropriate.
The Company reports formally to shareholders in a number of ways. Significant matters relating to trading or development of the business, and routine reporting obligations, are disseminated by way of Stock Exchange announcements and by press releases, interim results are announced in April each year and full year results in November, followed by the publication of the formal annual report and accounts.
In line with best practice, the Company’s default means of communication is online although shareholders can opt to receive documents in paper form at any time. Current and historical financial information, including trading statements, news releases, financial results’ presentations, and a wealth of other information regarding Associated British Foods can be found here on the Company’s website.
The AGM provides an opportunity for directors to engage with shareholders, answer their questions and, usually, to meet them informally. The 2020 AGM will be adapted to meet concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst the AGM will be held on Friday 4 December 2020 at 11.00 am, shareholders should not attend physically but are instead asked to follow proceedings through the telephone/internet stream which is being set up.
We encourage all shareholders to vote by proxy in advance of the meeting on all resolutions put forward. Shareholders are given the opportunity to raise questions and receive responses in advance of the voting deadline. All resolutions for which notice has been given are decided on a poll. The results are announced to the London Stock Exchange and posted here on the Company’s website.