Social Responsibility and Diversity
We manage our businesses through a decentralized operating structure which we believe fosters an entrepreneurial culture, enables us to remain responsive to opportunities and to customer needs. This structure places significant control and decision-making authority and accountability in the hands of local management. As such we initiate programs and make charitable donations at the local unit and branch level. Every location throughout North America is encouraged to sponsor community-based local initiatives both in donations of cash as well as employee volunteerism. The many individuals who play a role in Russel Metals also play roles in the communities in which they live. With 142 locations across North America, we are fortunate to be part of many neighborhoods and local communities.
At the corporate level, we are proud to support our scholarship program which provides scholarship funds to children of our employees during their first year of post-secondary education at accredited universities, colleges and technical schools. Since the inception of the program, we have awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarship funds.
We believe that an employee-base made up of highly qualified individuals from diverse backgrounds promotes better performance and effective decision-making. We have not adopted any fixed targets or quotas relating to the representation of specific groups as we do not believe that quotas or a formulaic approach necessarily results in the identification or selection of the best candidates. Nevertheless, we make efforts to ensure that employees have a wide range of skills, experiences and backgrounds to meet the needs of the company and our customers. To support this objective, when seeking candidates, we consider, among other things candidates who are highly qualified based on their experience, functional ability and personal skills.
Three out of seven (43%) of our executive officer positions are held by women, including one of our two (50%) C-Suite executives. Three of our ten (30%) directors are women.
We also have processes and systems in place to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and human rights. Our businesses operate, and our employees reside, in Canada and the United States; and accordingly, we are not exposed to any international human rights or labour risk. As a public company we have extensive corporate governance and compliance systems in place to monitor and ensure compliance with applicable laws and human rights legislation including: internal audit functions; a human resources department overseeing compliance with employment, labour laws and human rights; a legal department establishing corporate governance, assisting and monitoring compliance with applicable corporate and securities laws; all of which is overseen by an active and engaged Board of Directors.
As a distributor, we are not a significant generator of greenhouse gases, but we are monitoring our emissions and taking actions to ensure we reduce our emissions. We recognize, however, that our activities and operations may have the potential to impact the environment and the communities in which we operate; accordingly, we have made environmental management a corporate priority. We have adopted an Environmental Policy, applicable to all our business segments, which guides and directs our actions, to ensure that our operations comply with applicable environmental laws in the jurisdictions in which they operate, and to minimize the impact of our operations upon the environment.