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A personal message from George

I am proud of how our people have responded to the many challenges presented by COVID-19. It is the finest thing I have seen in a career in business.”

George Weston Chief Executive, Associated British Foods

Our focus areas

We look at our responsibilities across all Associated British Foods businesses, grouping our focus into three areas as outlined below.

During what has been a uniquely challenging year, these focus areas have steered our efforts to support our people and keep them safe, contribute to the communities in which we operate and make the world a better place.

Read more about our focus areas

Investing in our people

Our amazing people are central to our success, and they all went the extra mile to provide for our customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. The importance we place on their health, safety and wellbeing has never been more important than during the difficult circumstances we continue to face.

We also remain committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive working environment where everyone’s dignity is respected, there are equal opportunities to progress and people are empowered to fulfil their potential.

“The group has so much to offer. People who work here can expect to learn from great leaders, and to have fulfilling and rewarding career experiences. This is why people are supported to build a deep understanding of their business as well as developing the functional, technical and leadership skills they need.”

Head of Executive Development – Programmes, Associated British Foods


and strengthening oursupply chains

As a diversified international group with many complex supply chains, we respect the rights and dignity of people within and beyond our operations and develop products that support healthy lifestyles. Our businesses continue to make a positive impact in the communities in which they operate, especially with donations of everyday products during the COVID-19 pandemic. Primark in particular has had to make some difficult decisions to protect the business and mitigate the impact of store closures on its suppliers.

“For me, true corporate responsibility is about being connected to and felt by your own people, their families and the community of many people who live in and around our estate. It’s not about signature events; it is about being visible even when absent through incremental and cumulative action which, over a sustainable long-term journey, delivers meaningful societal upliftment and change to the lives of our everyday people. This resonates with the Illovo purpose and mindset of improving the quality of every life we touch across our value chain.”

Managing Director, Zambia Sugar

Respecting the environment

The world’s resources are under increasing pressure from the growing demands of a rising population, and climate change is exacerbating these challenges. These are global issues that we cannot solve in isolation, but we are working hard at a group and business level to minimise our environmental impacts by reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, using energy, water and natural resources more efficiently, and promoting biodiversity.

“We recognise that urgent action is required to tackle global warming and plastic pollution. Plastics have an important role to play but must be used only where they are really the best choice for food quality, consumer safety and the environment. As a member of the UK Plastics Pact, we are committed to phasing out unnecessary or problematic single-use plastics and redesigning our packaging to ensure it is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.”

Packaging Innovation Leader, AB World Foods

Our positive contribution

A year like no other: responding to COVID-19

During the COVID-19 crisis, our business and employees were put under enormous pressure, from our UK Grocery division significantly increasing production to keep nations fed to our Retail division where all Primark stores were forced to close. However, our amazing people went above and beyond the call of duty to meet demand, provide for our customers and mitigate the impacts on our supply chain.

Our strong culture has carried us through some tough times. Changing our working practices overnight was a challenge, but difficult steps were needed to protect the future of our businesses. Our resilient and flexible employees pulled together to keep our production facilities, warehouse and logistics networks running, despite supply issues and minimum staffing levels, and accommodated new hygiene, personal protective equipment and social distancing protocols.