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Care for people

People are at the heart of Renewi, both our colleagues and the communities we work in. The past year has been particularly hard, but our people have risen to the challenge. 

Our people are our most valued asset. Over the past year our colleagues have lived and worked in truly unusual circumstances. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown just how important a happy, healthy, engaged and committed workforce is. Our primary goal is to ensure the safety and wellness of all our people every day. Another priority goal is to keep our people motivated by emphasising how important their role is in serving their communities and customers. They are helping us to deliver on our purpose – to protect the world by giving new life to used materials. 

We have also worked alongside our people to support them as they adapt to the changes needed as we deliver on our Renewi 2.0 programme aimed to harmonise, simplify and digitise Renewi. We are committed to improving our working environment with the aim of making Renewi a leading company to work for in the circular economy. 


Operating in unusual circumstances
We entered FY21 shortly after the world was struck by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our key focus at the outset was to protect our employees while continuing to support our customers. Early on, we introduced a set of new policies and guidelines to help our people to work in the safest possible way. As a critical business employing key workers, our priority was to create a safe working environment for our frontline workers operating on 165 sites across the Netherlands, Belgium and UK. Our office-based employees worked largely from home throughout the period. 

Our goals and metrics for 2025
Our two objectives are: to deliver people home safe and well, every day; to make Renewi a rewarding, diverse and inclusive working environment. 

Mental health is a top priority
If we are to achieve our ambitions, we recognise the importance of strengthening our ‘Together’ value. We therefore work hard to further enhance employee safety, boost engagement, prioritise wellbeing and keep our people motivated. Through our employee Pulse survey, undertaken four times per year, our colleagues tell us how they feel at work, let us know whether they have everything they need to do their job, and provide feedback on topics such as Covid-19 and safety. This feedback gives leaders and managers clarity on where action needs to be taken. 

We have made a substantial effort throughout the year to invest in our colleagues’ wellbeing – both mental and physical – through online and offline activities. In terms based on of mental health, our leadership training programme – LEAD – has given leaders tips and tricks to better support their teams through this difficult time. Physical health was promoted and encouraged through activities such as RUNewi, Virgin Pulse and Fit to Finish. The RUNewi campaign engaged and rewarded our people for creating space in their workday to get away from their desks and do physical exercise during winter 2021 lockdowns in the UK and continental Europe. The Virgin Pulse competition, which was held in Belgium for the third year running, stimulated healthy habits, collaboration, friendship, job satisfaction, productivity and stress-management through a team-based challenge. The Fit to Finish health programme, which is based on six key themes – more exercise, no smoking, no alcohol, eat healthy food, relax and better sleep – promoted a series of health activities with the aim of encouraging long-term healthy habits amongst our Commercial Waste Netherlands’ employees.  

Engage our people
At Renewi we have a clear purpose: to give new life to used materials, thereby preserving our planet from pollution, carbon emissions and resource depletion. Our purpose resonates with our teams, who see their job as a calling – as a result they stay longer, are more committed and engagement is higher. We have been humbled by the response of our people to the challenges faced throughout the year.  

During the first lockdown we experienced significantly lower absenteeism than we had seen in the same period in the previous year, and we recorded higher levels of engagement in our Pulse survey. Our people showed they understood their role as an essential service and delivered their duties despite the risks they faced being out in the community. In return, the community has shown its appreciation for our ongoing service via letters and gifts of refreshments, and there were site visits in the Netherlands from the Dutch Prime Minister and other ministers. Renewi is a purpose-driven business and those who work with us are confident they make a difference to the world. 

Helping our people to thrive
Good leaders are critical to enable business success. We recognise this and have therefore increased our investment in developing our leaders. Over the past 12 months we expanded our LEAD programme, a framework of sequential training modules that created a shared and clear leadership framework, language and skillset across Renewi. Launched in-person in the Netherlands in 2019, a remote version of this training was delivered in Belgium in 2020 and was kicked off in the UK early in 2021. The programme is based on our values and the principles of emotionally intelligent leadership. 

Time investment in PDR
Twice a year our people leaders and managers engage in a dialogue with their employees to discuss how they have performed against their objectives, how they are living Renewi’s values and how they are delivering against leadership expectations. Called the performance development review (PDR), performance expectations are measured. During the year, we upgraded our PDR process by adding a mid-year review and rolling out our PDR via a digital platform for easy completion and secure storage. We are also increasingly reviewing our grading to ensure that a fair distribution of grades is taking place within the business. 

Investment in learning
Learning is a lifelong opportunity. Our internal learning management system (LMS), set to support employees’ development journeys, offers training to all Renewi employees on safety, our Code of Conduct and other essential topics. 

Listening to our people
We greatly value a listening culture within Renewi. Two-way communication encourages honest and constructive feedback and brings confidence that employees have a role to play in bringing the business to the next level. Our listening activities are delivered through the Pulse survey, Pulse Exchange sessions – open or themed listening sessions among small groups – and via our regular Renewi Leadership Team monthly calls. Since the first Pulse survey was rolled out in 2019, 59% of employees have said that necessary actions have been taken to address their concerns. 

Ethics, compliance and people
Creating a fair working environment
Delivering our circular economy ambitions can only be done if we are in this together. Together is one of our core values, and working together in a diverse and inclusive environment is a priority. After all, diverse teams perform better and inclusive organisations have higher engagement. 

We are committed to becoming a more diverse and inclusive employer, to better reflect and interface with our communities. The Board and Executive Committee recently approved our first diversity and inclusion strategy. We are putting in place a Diversity and Inclusion Board, which comprises people from across Renewi, to establish projects that will increase our diversity and promote an inclusive culture. A primary focus is to increase the number of women we employ. We have set an initial target of 25% women within our workforce by 2025.

As an equal opportunities employer, Renewi gives full and fair consideration to applications from disabled people, partners with them to support career development through training and supports continuing employment. 

The gender pay gap is another priority that we take very seriously. Not only in the UK, where we disclose male and female pay details annually under the UK gender pay gap reporting legislation, but in all of our countries. We are therefore using our UK disclosures as a benchmark to build our data in our other operating territories. 

While we do not operate in higher-risk countries, we uphold the principles in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subscribe to the UN Global Compact (see the table on page 54). We respect our employees’ human rights. We support the rights of the child and don’t employ anyone under 16. We consider the rights of other young people relative to their work and don’t employ anyone under the age of 18 in operational roles. We have a policy to combat the possibility of human trafficking and slavery in our business and supply chain – see our Modern Slavery Statement at renewi.com. 

We exercise good governance across our planet, people and partnership activities. We seek external verification of our approach and performance where appropriate. This may be through accreditation to formal standards or assessment to known standards, such as FTSE4Good. 

A unified and respectful approach
Following the merger between Shanks and Van Gansewinkel Groep in 2017, we had different reward systems and schemes across our countries and Divisions. A priority has been to create a single, common, clear and fair reward structure across the entire business. Launched in 2019, the One Reward programme has unified our system to create a performance-based

structure that creates fairness, internal equity and simplicity for our office workers. We have worked closely with the Central Works Council to develop One Reward, while creating a new reward and job matrix for career paths and talent development. 

Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are self-evident, fundamental rights. As such, Renewi is committed, in accordance with local laws, to respect the rights of all employees to form and join trade unions, to bargain collectively and to engage in peaceful assembly. 


The main programme we use to ensure the safety of our people is HomeSafe. The HomeSafe campaign has a simple purpose: to get every one of our team members safely home to their families at the end of each and every day. The campaign stands on seven founding pillars to ensure that everyone is aware of the rules and lives by them.

The campaign also guides our teams on how to report hazards, incidents or threats (HIT) at our sites and encourages open discussion with safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) managers. 

During the year we introduced our 10 Lifesaving Rules (LSR), one of the seven pillars of the HomeSafe programme. We have undertaken mandatory safety training across the Group, for people working on site in all our markets and for desk-based workers. We expect that these rules will be a platform to reduce serious accidents. 

Ten Lifesaving Rules (LSR)
Of all safety incidents, those that cause serious harm, or even threaten lives, are our top priority. As a result, we train our employees about our 10 LSRs. During FY21, we have had an increase in events that have resulted in significant physical harm, many of which involved a breach of an LSR. This shows clearly that if every employee follows our LSRs, there will be a major improvement in our safety. The goal of our new mandatory training is to embed these rules in our people’s minds to create a 24/7 safety mindset. 

To push it beyond one-way communication, we have also created a discussion group between managers and employees to talk openly about the “grey areas” where people may seek excuses to cut corners. 

Over the period, we saw a slight improvement in the number of >3-day accidents that occurred, from 1,504 in FY20 to 1,495 in FY21. However, over the past 12 months we experienced two fatalities within our workforce. One on site, another on the road. This has made it clear to us that we must work harder and make better progress in safeguarding our people to meet all of our safety goals. 

Throughout the year, we have strengthened our HomeSafe initiative, which was designed to improve safety across Renewi, and to roll out others, namely 10 Life Saving Rules (LSR), Worksafe, Safety Academy and Speak Up. Despite these efforts, and as a result of the fatalities, our safety performance did not meet expectations, which led us to introduce a new Board committee called SHE (Safety, Health and Environment) Commitee. Safety statistics can be seen in the table [opposite]. 

Safety improvements were achieved in a number of areas, including delivering an uplift in the number of concerns raised by our teams in our new IT reporting system, Assure. These rose to circa 50,000; this indicates that our employees take our initiatives seriously and participate in building a safety culture. We also started with safety and fire audits done by the central group SHEQ team to ensure a consistent implementation of our safety guidelines. As follow up, we executed the actions raised from those audits to get our site safety to a higher level. 

Our Pulse survey indicates that the mood of our people has improved, reaching a score of 7.3 (target score over the next three years is 7.5). Our healthy at work rate improved too, reaching a rate of 95.1%. These items have brought confidence that our colleagues’ focus on health is becoming more broadly embedded. Our employment engagement grew to +21 according to our Employee Net Promoter Score employee survey, which is carried out four times a year. This result keeps us on track for the +30 target by 2025. There has also been an increase by +1% in the number of female employees on our journey to make Renewi more diverse and inclusive.

Safety is our first value and we will continue to further improve our safety culture and to deliver on our target outcome – to achieve zero serious incidents. We have built a strong foundation, with clear and uniform rules in place, and we are committed to further strengthen our safety culture in all areas across the organisation. 


Having a beneficial influence on communities is another fundamental part of our sustainability strategy. We play

a key role in enabling the circular economy for society, and we need close collaboration with our communities to reach this goal. Processing society’s discarded items can have an unwanted impact on the local surroundings, including the risk of odour, dust and noise pollution, as well as the risk of fires on site. We work hard to minimise these effects on neighbouring communities. Transparent and regular dialogue enables us to identify, understand, address and manage risks together, while enabling us to build trusted relationships. 

We also have an important role in educating communities. This helps build understanding about recycling and the circular economy, can result in better inbound waste streams and also develops appreciation for the essential work we do. 

Our goals and metrics for 2025
Our objective is to positively impact our communities, and we will measure our progress through three metrics: community engagement projects, community feedback and community impact events (see table below). 

The pandemic has highlighted our crucial role in society. Our teams overcame challenges to ensure the continuity of essential services, and our communities recognised this essential role and expressed their gratitude. We extended the scope of our pandemic support by working with GreenCycl and Van Straten Medical in the Netherlands to recycle medical personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically facemasks, and to process and recycle medical waste. We have now started a pilot project with our partners to recycle medical equipment. By enhancing relationships with our neighbours the total number of registered comments provided by communities rose. This led to more awareness and a proactive approach in our organisation. As a result we saw a decrease in the number of substantiated complaints. 

Conclusion and outlook
Through the year, as a result of Covid-19, we were unable to grow the number of community engagement projects as we had hoped. We will take active steps to continue to reduce the number of complaints from our neighbours, while focusing on strengthening our direct contribution to our communities. During FY22 Renewi will roll out the Renewi Purpose Week, giving colleagues an opportunity to proactively engage with local communities, Covid-19 permitting. 

We are committed to make a difference to our communities, to the countries in which we operate and to serve the planet. 

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we were unable to connect with our communities as much as we would have liked. To mitigate this, we shared expertise and knowledge in several ways, including digitally through social media by participating in webinars on the importance of sorting at source and on the circular economy. We also produced an animated film informing local Belgian residents about the reconstruction and redevelopment of a site in Kampenhout.