Fiscal 2020 Universal Registration Document

5.4 Risk management

5. Corporate governance

5.4 Risk management


5.4.1 Group Policies

Sodexo faces a number of internal and external risks and uncertainties in the conduct of its business and in the implementation of its strategy. To confront these risks and uncertainties, the Group has established an organization and policies intended to identify, evaluate, prevent and manage these risks in order to limit any adverse impacts.

Internal control procedures are established by the Company and implemented under its responsibility, and are intended to ensure:

  • compliance with laws and regulations and application of Group policies;
  • the effectiveness of the Company’s internal processes, notably those concerning the safeguarding of its assets;
  • the reliability and integrity of financial and non-financial information.

Internal control procedures play a major role in the conduct of the Group’s business, by contributing to the prevention and management of risks.

Strategy, long-term objectives and general policies of the Group

The Group’s strategy, long-term objectives and general policies, as defined initially by Mr. Pierre Bellon and subsequently adjusted over the years by the Board of Directors, with support from the Chief Executive Officer and the Executive Committee, are set out in the first chapter of this document and are presented each year during the Shareholders Meeting.

The Group’s internal control procedures rely on these principles.

General policies of the Group

Group policies cover such areas as strategic planning, human resources development, finance, procurement, consumer and customer focus, health safety and environment, sustainable development, data protection and internal audit. They comprise four parts: goals, procedures, improvement metrics, and research and innovation. The Group continues to develop its policies to make them easier to understand and apply.

In light of the Group’s changing environment and its expanding portfolio of services and solutions, these policies are regularly updated and approved by the Board of Directors.

Strategic planning process

The Board of Directors and senior management work together to constantly improve the strategic planning process and promote buy-in at all levels of the organization.

The Group’s fundamental principles demonstrate how Sodexo was able to start from scratch in 1966 and then become a major international group with 420,000 employees, in 64 different countries, and world leader in Quality of Life services. In a profoundly changing world, Sodexo has defined priorities to enable it to continue to grow its revenues and underlying operating profi t in the future.

Periodically, and particularly during the September Board meeting, the Group Chief Executive Officer, the heads of the Group corporate functions and of the main segments and activities present their strategic plans. Through this process, directors and senior executives all contribute to evolving the strategy and policies of the Group.

Human resources development policy

The Group’s four overriding human resources priorities are:

  • anticipate and adapt the staffing requirements of operations in terms of numbers, skills and competencies to enhance operational efficiency;
  • continue to develop a performance-based culture based on shared priorities and indicators, by offering training and learning for individual development;
  • promote an inclusive work environment and embrace diversity in all its dimensions;
  • in a particularly challenging and uncertain economic context, limit the social impact of the crisis as much as possible and maintain individual motivation.

The main human resources policies are focused on: the profile of a Sodexo leader and senior manager, Group organizational rules, succession planning for senior managers, senior managers’ training and skills enhancement, employee engagement, compensation, and innovation and research in the area of human resources administration.

Finally, annual tracking of improvement metrics by the Executive Committee and Board of Directors should serve to validate action plans aimed at advancing these policies, including engagement surveys, employee retention, internal promotion, and the representation of women in senior management.

Sodexo is also making significant advances in the area of diversity, particularly in relation to gender balance at all levels of the organization and is establishing partnerships with organizations for people with disabilities.

Financial policies

The Group’s financial objectives are twofold, namely:


Financial independence is a fundamental principle, because it enables the Group to hold firm to its values, pursue a long-term strategic vision, ensure management continuity and guarantee the business’s lasting success.