Through our 11 year journey Sodexo has worked with the Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander communities across Australia in Bridging the Gap, we are proud of making a difference in the lives of hundreds employed under our program, and the more than $33 million in wages earned by them directly and positively impacting their lives.
Every organisation has a role and responsibility in contributing to reconciliation in Australia, most effectively through core business to develop and contribute under reconciliation’s pillars of Opportunity, Respect and Relationships. As an Elevate RAP organisation Sodexo’s focus continues to strive across our business to achieve and deliver more for community across these pillars and deliver outcomes in line with our Quality of Life philosophy and Better Tomorrow 2025 commitments.
Through empowerment of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people Sodexo has created and continues to create direct and indirect economic opportunities. Across more than 200 client sites nationally, Sodexo employs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians delivering $33.5M in wages earned through this time, delivering a direct financial impact into families and communities.
Sodexo has also reformed Supply Chain processes to ensure cultural and community due diligence in the process as the first step when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned business, employing Sodexo’s senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership to directly work with businesses. Wherever possible, Sodexo seeks to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business into our supply chain and to include these enterprises into our tender process. Sodexo is proud of supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander small business movement across Australia, working with enterprises in both urban areas and cities through to regional and remote locations in areas such as the Pilbara, Western Australia and Weipa in Far North Queensland. We will continue to explore opportunities and build capability, enabling longer term economic security and different business models such as joint ventures. This is how we will create Opportunities.
Sodexo will continue to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, through participation and support of significant cultural events and developing and nurturing respectful Relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities. As Respect is a critical component of equality, we will work harder to build our organisation wide appreciation of, and sensitivity and connection to, the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
Our global and local business is best suited to deliver tangible results through what we do best, improve the Quality of Life of our employees, clients, and consumers of our services and the communities in which we work.
Sodexo will deliver significant and practical outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities through continued focus on our three priorities. Continuing those that will provide maximum impact and introducing stronger governance and leadership to ensure we deliver our commitments.
Our lessons learnt
Through our Reconciliation we have learnt important lessons from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures. The most significant of which is the challenge of non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to truly understand the deep connection to land and sea, under the world’s oldest continuing culture and the damage of the past 230+ years of history.
Some of our lessons learnt:
- Reconciliation is extremely challenging for individuals, let alone organisations of thousands of people;
- Cultural awareness and learning is never complete, it is an ongoing process that needs to continue as a company continues to grow and change;
- It is simply not enough to have a RAP, each individual within the organisation needs to have an understanding of why we have it, be proud of it and be an advocate of it. This can be achieved through education, reporting and celebration of our RAP;
- It takes a true team approach to achieve Reconciliation, it cannot rely upon a small handful of people within an organization;
- To help achieve a greater impact on Reconciliation, RAP organisations must continue to partner with other RAP organisations across all sectors;
- We can only measure our RAPs success by having correct data and reporting;
- Growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships requires investment, support and a true value in long term relationships;
- A RAP is not a project, it must be part of the organisations DNA and decision making;
- Being an Elevate RAP organisation requires constant effort, focus, honesty and a willingness to adjust when required, in order to achieve what we are reaching to achieve; and
- Many segments across the Australian business landscape are willing to commit to Reconciliation, and look to Elevate RAP organisations to share experiences on what may and may not be effective in doing so.