Fiscal 2020 Integrated Report

Full mobilization from the first moments

2. A year marked by the Covid-19 crisis

Full mobilization from the first moments

Full mobilization from the first moments

Since December 2019 and the appearance of Covid-19 in Asia, Sodexo has been fully mobilized to protect the health and safety of its consumers and employees and ensure the continuity of operations with its clients through its support for all stakeholders.


First in Asia, then around the world, thousands of Sodexo employees working in hospitals, senior residences or public sector entities under pressure have been collectively supporting caregivers, patients and consumers during the crisis, through their professionalism and with the little touches that make the difference.

As the pandemic has spread across the world, more stringent disinfection standards and precautionary measures have been implemented on sites. Sodexo teams have applied their expertise in clinical engineering to ensure the operational management of medical equipment and delivered critical Facilities Management services such as hygiene and cleaning services on Corporate or Education sites that remain open.

Everywhere, adaptation and collaboration have been at the forefront as the crisis deepened in order to ensure the continuity of operations while dealing with reductions in attendance, cancellation of services and the closure of sites. As often as possible, teams with declining business activity have been redeployed to reinforce sites under pressure. Inter-segment collaboration was strengthened in France, for example, through the production of meals by the Education segment for Corporate sites that remained open or, in the United Kingdom , by the support of Sports & Leisure teams for Healthcare teams to help ensure the proper functioning of Covid-19 testing centers deployed across the country.


In this exceptional situation, Sodexo’s mission to improve quality of life has taken on even greater relevance. More than ever listening to and at the side of clients, whether in person or remotely, Sodexo teams have pooled their strengths and expertise to help them ensure the continuity of their business activities, adapting services and practices at each phase of the pandemic, with the health and safety of all an absolute priority. Exceptional measures put in place include adapting services in restaurants, creating simplified menus and further reinforcing hygiene measures in the kitchen and on sites. In the United States, for example, Sodexo has adapted the services and operational measures to ensure safety on the U.S. Marine Corps sites.

In Europe and elsewhere, Sodexo teams are personally committed to ensuring their activity’s continuity. At the height of the crisis, many employees chose to adapt their personal lives (accommodation, transport, family life) to the constraints imposed by the sanitary situation. The hidden heroes of Foodservices and Facilities Management services have mobilized to ensure the provision of food and the protection of health and safety on client sites, as well as those of Home Services teams which continued to take care of their clients experiencing even more isolation during this period.

The essential work of the supply chain teams and the strength of partnerships with suppliers also contributed to the safety of all and the continuity of activities, including by ensuring the supply of raw materials, masks and personal protective equipment.


As partners in daily life, it is natural for Sodexo teams to support health professionals dealing with this crisis, keep ing open the essential activities such as school meals or childcare centers as well as donating products. In France for example, 1,200 meal trays were offered by Lenôtre in the Paris-region , nearly 30 tons of fruit and vegetables were distributed to over 100 health facilities and staff and hundreds of electronic tablets were provided to patients to maintain the link with their families. In many countries, onsite retail services have been reinvented to help caregivers cope with day-to-day life, such as “Grocery & Meals to Go” in North America and “Key Workers, Key Essentials” in the United Kingdom, solutions that allow healthcare teams to place orders online and have them delivered directly to the hospital. 

Beyond healthcare staff , Sodexo works as closely as possible with local communities to support their needs. In the United States, despite closures of many universities, Sodexo teams continued to prepare more than four million meals per week for students in financial need while teams from Centerplate mobilized to support confined seniors in MiamiDade County and to support families in Orlando through the “Feed the Need Florida” initiative. In India, more than 2.7 million meals prepared by Sodexo were distributed to those most in need in several cities under confinement. The unprecedented mobilization of Sodexo and its teams, combined with the support of client companies and the action of the global Stop Hunger network, have made it possible to support food aid associations in many countries. 

Because the exceptional situation facing the company has unfortunately had an impact on the employment of some of its on-site employees , Sodexo has created a global Employee Relief Program of 30 million euro funded by contributions from the Group’s senior executives and the company. This program has notably made it possible to fi nance the extension of health insurance coverage in the United States and to grant food financial aid in Brazil . 

Sodexo also mobilized from the start of the crisis to support its ecosystem of suppliers, impacted by the sudden interruption of numerous Foodservices activities by identifying possible logistical support arrangements, help with the disposal of stocks, volume transfers to active segments and flexible financing solutions, especially for Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) and local suppliers. Sodexo has also provided support to its restaurant partners, for example by adopting an early repayment system for restaurant vouchers in France and by organizing the solidarity initiative “Vivent les restos”.