We strive to inspire and lead sustainable business practices
Serving the community is the founding principle of STO. National interest and social responsibility are specified in our organizational values. We are keen to merge business success with ethical values, human dignity and sustainable development. Accordingly, we espouse a leading and proactive attitude towards sustainability reporting, which helps us gauge and push ourselves.
In our conventional approach to corporate social responsibility, our efforts have been divided into four main categories: society, market, staff, and environment. Nine years ago we joined the United Nations Global Compact and committed to its ten principles that are based on human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption. More recently, we have endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed by the United Nations to tackle the economic, social and environmental issues around the world, and it sets the format for this report.
SDGs are long term, and require action by governments, NGOs and the private sector. As a prominent PLC in the Maldives, we are committed to lead by example and function towards these goals. We strive to reduce the negative impact of our actions on the ecosystems and communities we engage. Each one of the seventeen SDGs has a specific target to be achieved by 2030. This report highlights eight that offer the most congruency with our operations and capabilities.
— Husen Amru Mohamed Rashad, CEO & Managing Director
Sustainability at STO embraces environmental and social responsibility while creating value for its stakeholders. I assure all stakeholders about implementing best practices while investing in CSR activities. Expenditure on CSR would be based on the needs of the communities and working towards making a meaningful difference to them.
The uninterrupted provision and affordability of essential goods is part of STO’s mission statement, and staple foods is a crucial component of this. We essentially play the role of a regulator (both price and quality) of staple foods. We are currently executing a programme to equalize availability and price of staple foods across all 187 inhabited islands.
We have plans to build a new central distribution centre with vastly improved capacity, conditions and access.
Healthcare is one of the biggest areas of contribution to the public by STO. STO Medicals routinely hosts or sponsors key medical symposiums. As the organization entrusted with the supply of controlled drugs, key equipment and consumables, we work closely with the Health Ministry, other organizations and healthcare facilities and professionals on various projects to advance national healthcare.
STO is always amongst the first to respond and provide assistance in nationwide pandemics.
Within a few decades Maldives has made admirable progress in this area compared to the region, especially in primary and secondary education. However, the quality and access to early childhood education and lifelong learning opportunities still vary greatly across island communities.
One of the ways we support education is our assistance to smaller schools and private or community establishments in the atolls with their resource needs and integrating technology. To promote educational achievement at the crucial secondary level, we honoured the top students for the seventh consecutive year in 2018.
We stand firmly against gender-based discrimination. We do not tolerate gender-based differentiation in employee benefits and opportunities such as salary, training, promotion or decision making.
We are one of the first local Plc's to meet the CG guideline of appointing two female directors. In 2018 we donated MVR318,500 to NGOs working for gender equality and women empowerment.
Our island communities being scattered across the ocean, access to basic services becomes a key area of focus in addressing inequalities. STO continues to reduce the gap in accessibility to essentials such as medicine and staple foods.
We continue to work with government agencies and NGOs in assisting special needs groups. Our sponsorship of trained staff and facilities at Fiyavathi help improve the odds for a better future for these children.
-- Husen Amru Mohamed Rashad, CEO & Managing Director
An integral part of STO’s philosophy is its commitment to empower and enhance the quality of lives of the people of Maldives.
The rapid urbanization of the Greater Malé Area raises concerns about adequate housing and infrastructure, environmental impact, and vulnerability to disasters. In July 2018 we introduced Powermix (our ready-mix concrete service) in Hulhumalé where most large-scale construction projects are concentrated. Powermix vastly reduces air and noise pollution, construction safety and quality issues that plagued the conventional method of concrete mixing in the Maldives.
We are also taking a more direct involvement in tackling the housing problem by introducing our own housing scheme for the neediest staff.
We are the first local PLC to manage recyclable waste and general waste separately according to industry best practices. All our business operations adhere to WAMCO best practices in waste management. We use biodegradable bags across all out outlets and are on the lookout for even more ecofriendly options. In 2018 we launched a plastic reduction initiative.
Life below Water has been chosen as a theme of STO’s CSR efforts in 2019. Hundreds of coral reefs in the country are delicate ecosystems important for both environmental and economic reasons. Fisheries and tourism sectors that form the backbone of our economy are heavily dependent on them.
As an MSC-certified fisheries company, our subsidiary MIFCO uses sustainable fishing methods, doing its part to ensure the world’s oceans remain teething with life today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
In 2018 we transported free of charge, over 25 jumbo bags of recyclable plastics for Parley Maldives from the atolls to Malé. Reducing plastics and microplastics going into the ocean is an area we continue to explore for more meaningful contribution.
Year 2018 in review
Apart from our commitment to the UN Global Compact and Sustainable Development Goals, we strive to be a more caring organization to our communities. Through our CSR and sponsorship programs we spent a significant portion of our 2018 budget towards developing a sustainable future. Similar efforts were made by our subsidiaries, making STO Group arguably the nation's top corporate contributor to sustainable causes.
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