As we grow, we strive to be increasingly responsible for the impact of our actions.
STO is an organization that has social responsibility ingrained in its founding principles. This has not changed and maximizing profit will never be our priority. We will continue to make our maximum contribution to sustainable development of the nation, while making a reasonable profit.
STO generated a healthy result for 2016 in a volatile market environment. We continued to advance on our goals for a sustainable and profitable development; which include stabilizing essential commodity prices, offering new products, and providing excellent services to our customers. As we execute our long-term sustainable business model, we are confident that we will continue to meet the expectations of our stakeholders. Good governance strengthens the company’s processes and supports the company’s efforts in generating sustainable returns to our shareholders. To maintain this momentum, we will focus on ensuring the long-term success of the business through our sustainable strategies.
Ahmed Shaheer, Managing Director
As we execute our long-term sustainable business model, we are confident that we will continue to meet the expectations of our stakeholders.
Building on the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations in 2016 adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to tackle the economic, social and environmental issues around the world. We have adopted the SDGs, and we also continue to be part of the UN Global Compact, committed to withhold its 10 principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti corruption.
Achieving the SDGs will require action by governments, NGOs and the private sector. As a leading public company in the Maldives, we are committed to lead by example in contributing to achieve these goals. We strive to reduce the negative impact of our operations and make positive contribution to the environment and the communities we engage.
STO Group of Companies performed well in 2016. This performance is inseparable from the responsible approach the group employed towards attaining a sustainable future. Each of the 17 SDGs has a specific target to be achieved by 2030. This report highlights on 8 of these 17 goals and how STO Group contributes to responsible performance.
The goals highlighted here are the most closely aligned with the topics that are most prominent for STO in our contributions to sustainable development:
STO is a proud advocate for gender equality and female empowerment as a necessary component of it. This is evident from the top of the hierarchy, the Board of Directors; to the bottom of the management structure. STO is one of the very first public listed companies in the country to meet the corporate governance guideline of appointing two female directors to represent the Board. At the operational level, female representation is higher (54%) than male. STO firmly stands against gender based discrimination. No gender-based differentiation exists in employee benefits such as salary, training, work environment or decision making. STO believes that gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
Reducing inequality is the greatest single cause for a sustainable future. The root cause for much of the goals of the UN sustainable development program is down to inequality in the society. Reducing the difference between the top tier and the lower tiers of a country could ultimately determine its economic growth, well-being and even eliminate poverty. This approach is reflected within both STO and its contribution to society. Within the organization, the management has set up measures in terms of a salary structure to reduce the income inequality between the top and lower tiers. Furthermore, STO has helped people with disabilities to attain a normal life as any other. As such, STO has employed 6 staff (PWD-People with Disabilities) at various posts in the organization. Likewise, STO has contributed to the Fiyavathi – children’s orphanage to improve their life and to provide equal education and social privileges to them.
Ahmed Shaheer, Managing Director
STO believes that every child here should get the same opportunity as any other child in the society in terms of education, health and even in lifestyle. Children here should have access to playgrounds like any other child in the society.
The uninterrupted provision and affordability of essential goods is part of STO’s mission statement. Over the years STO has proudly taken this crucial responsibility and fulfilled this mission to the public. STO’s business strategies are also aligned primarily to provide affordable products to the citizens. As such STO plays the role of a regulator (both price and quality) in some commodities such as staple foods and medical / pharmaceutical items. Ensuring the nation’s food security is more than just a mission for STO. It is a national obligation.
STO's contribution to the national healthcare is well known among citizens. In recent years STO’s medical department has grown rapidly with the primary focus on improving the health and wellbeing of every single citizen in the nation. In addition to supporting health organizations and hospitals, STO is always amongst the first to respond and provide assistance in nationwide pandemics. STO operates a pharmacy on every inhabited island of the country. While most of the time these services are provided not with the intention of profit making but rather just to ensure good health and well-being of citizens.
STO has always been a strong advocate for environmental issues. In 2016, STO signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Waste Management Corporation Limited to integrate the best practices in waste management in all business operations. Under the MOU, we have committed to create awareness among our staff and the general public on waste management. In this regard STO is the first public company in the country to manage recyclable waste and general waste separately according to industry best practices.
Being a low-lying island nation consisting mostly of the sea, life below water is a huge part of the country’s fauna. Hundreds of coral reefs in the country are delicate ecosystems that is important not only for environmental reasons, but for economic reasons as well. Fisheries and tourism sectors that form the backbone of the country’s economy are heavily dependent on the health of our coral reefs. Hence sustaining life underwater is of utmost importance to STO and thus this is reflected in all the organization’s business strategies. Our subsidiary, MIFCO (Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company Limited is a prime example to this business approach. MIFCO is a MSC certified fisheries company. This means that MIFCO would use sustainable fishing methods, doing its part to ensure the world’s oceans remain teething with life today, tomorrow and for generations to come. STO also started an initiative to use only bio-degradable bags which is crucial for the health of the coral reefs.
With the rapid growth in the Country’s development, the greater Malé area and even some larger islands are seeing the trend of urbanization. As cities develop more and more, people are moving in to these areas in order to upgrade their standard of living. STO being a leader in the construction industry plays an active role in the urbanization of cities. Though at no point does STO consider the development of the cities at the expense of sustainability and community wellbeing. Over the years STO has contributed to the community with the development of green public spaces, parks, pharmacies and playgrounds. The Company also provides flexible assistance for other companies in improving urban planning and management.
With the urbanization of the cities, it is important that new jobs are created in order to gain economic growth. STO leads as an example and provide new jobs with every new project. In 2016 alone STO hired 330 new employees for various positions in the organization. As such STO plays a key role in economic growth by providing decent work opportunities to the public.
In contributing to sustainable business practices, STO definitely go beyond the 8 goals highlighted on this page.
In 2016 and 2017 STO spent just over half of the marketing budget towards developing a sustainable future, and a similar trend will continue into the next few years with a focus on maximizing impact. These included contributions to education, community, health, environment, sports, children, women and even special needs. Similar contributions are made by all our subsidiaries as well, making STO Group arguably the nation’s top corporate contributor to causes that align with the Sustainable Development Goals.
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