Sodexo and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco, and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), the international trade union federation for workers throughout the food chain, recently signed a joint declaration to fight against domestic violence worldwide.

Given the prevalence of domestic violence and its repercussions on the work environment, Sodexo and the IUF have pledged to work together at the national and international levels, to develop a global framework to implement actions locally to mitigate the impacts of domestic violence, and to build an empathetic workplace, wherein trust and confidentiality are key.

Estimates published by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that about 1 in 3 women in the world have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual violence, mostly intimate partner violence. Recognizing this violence also affects working life and with an ability to contribute to the well-being of hundreds of thousands of workers around the world, Sodexo and the IUF have chosen to join forces to combat the scourge of domestic violence.

Sodexo is the first company in its sector to sign this type of joint declaration with the IUF. As an employer of 422,000 people across 53 countries, this represents a step forward in the company’s efforts to drive gender equality, inclusion, and well-being.

A framework to drive change globally and endorse Sodexo’s long-stand commitment

Sodexo has been committed to fighting domestic violence through global and regional awareness and supporting initiatives for several years. Through this collaboration with the IUF, Sodexo aspires to go further by implementing global standards and maximizing the impact of its actions worldwide through a 3-stage process:

  1. 1/ Reinforce prevention by developing global standards and raising awareness

    • Global guidelines against gender-based violence to provide a common standard for local actions
    • Yearly internal awareness campaigns in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th
  2. Support local employees and entities by providing tools, such as:

    • Sodexo’s “Speak Up” platform accessible via phone or digital for employees to confidentially address any concern, complaint or issue they may have
    • A local helpline number dedicated to gender-based violence available in all Sodexo’s sites
    • Sodexo “SheWorks” program, launched in 2019 with 30 countries participating in 2023, aims to empower and support all vulnerable women including survivors of gender-based violence
  3. Train people and define appropriate prevention actions locally

    • A dedicated eLearning module on domestic violence will be deployed to 35,000 Sodexo’s managers worldwide in 2023 and 2024
    • Some countries have launched additional tailor-made initiatives such as:
      • In Brazil, the “Fairy Godmothers” program supports women suffering from gender-based violence by creating a safe space with volunteer employees trained to provide psychological and legal aid. Today the program is composed of 100 volunteer employees and has already supported more than 100 women and saved 5 from imminent risk of death.
      • In China, in 2022, a total of 52 hours of personal assistance dedicated to Sodexo employees or their relatives were recorded, and 7 regular conferences bringing together more than 1,500 participants were organized.
      • In France, a communication campaign with prevention information, a helpline and emergency number has been deployed to 4,000 Sodexo sites in 2023, including the company headquarters.

“By signing this declaration with the IUF, we take a stand to address the alarming prevalence of domestic violence as it has a dramatic impact on workers’ health and safety. As a people company leader in its industry, with our 54% of female workforce, it is our responsibility to build a safe working environment for our employees, by raising awareness among our teams, and developing the appropriate actions to help the most vulnerable ones.”

Annick profile photoAnnick de Vanssay
Sodexo Group Chief Human Resources Officer


“The scourge of domestic violence also affects the workplace, and employers have a key role to play in providing a safe working environment. The IUF is pleased to sign this declaration of intent with Sodexo, the first of its kind since the adoption of the International Labour Organization's Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work. Aimed at mitigating the impact of domestic violence, this agreement reflects the commitments made by Sodexo, the IUF and its affiliated to ensure workers receive the support they need to move forward.”

Sue Longley
IUF General Secretary

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