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Board Member’s View

January 2020

CaoireFirst of all, Happy New Year to you all! I hope you managed to grab a well-deserved break with your families over the festive period and haven’t made too many arduous New Year’s resolutions!

New Year’s resolutions are an old tradition providing us with the opportunity to improve as we turn from one year to another, or as is the case this year, from one decade to another. So it’s good timing that I get to write this first AFB Group Board post to tell you about some of the new things we’ve got lined up in 2020 to take our business forward to be a better one.

With the forming of our business strategy over the past year (or two!) we decided it was a good time to look at our values, which were last updated 12 years ago. From this, we’re today launching a slightly revised version of the existing values, but with two exciting new additions.

These slight revisions are a tweak rather than a reinvention, to reflect how our culture has developed as Leading the Blakemore Way has been rolled out over the past decade. The addition of the two new values has allowed us to point to where we want our business to be, and to incorporate some more modern themes that are important to colleagues, customers and communities today.

Our two new values are:

Embrace differences through an inclusive culture, reflective of the communities we serve.

We want our business to be one that embraces differences and by doing so creates an inclusive culture that we can all be proud of. Inclusivity is the action and diversity the result.

Make a significant, positive contribution towards a sustainable planet.

Just like we have a responsibility for the communities in which we trade, we have got to recognise our responsibility to the environment. So the value has evolved to reflect that we would like this business to be one that significantly contributes to creating a sustainable planet. We have chosen the word planet on purpose to ensure that we think big and not just what is required from legislation and what is easy to do. That we look wider than just our immediate part in the supply chain as we believe this is what businesses have a responsibility if we are going to address climate change.

These new values have a strategic plan behind them, which I look forward to unfurling to you over the coming year. First up for diversity is our Women in Blakemore event in February – the start of a series of diversity events aimed at making our business a more inclusive one that reflects the communities in which we serve. See more on this even in our News section.

And for the sustainability value, we’ve broken down our operations and how we impact the environment into four workstreams: what we sell, how we deliver what we sell, how we influence and enable our customers to be more sustainable, and how we enable a sustainable culture internally across our business. Next steps for these is to break these four workstreams down further through a series of workshops which will provide us with targets and plans in how we can create some meaningful change.

Finally, a thank you to all for the amount of effort that goes into delivering Christmas for our customers. It’s always a pressured time as we work towards such a definitive (and emotive!) deadline, and I’m pleased to report that across all divisions our service did really well. So to those of you who kept the wheels turning, computers buzzing, tills ringing and everything in between, thank you!  


Caoire Blakemore

Group Board Director

10th January 2020



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