Castlefield Stock Story - Renewi focus on Health and Safety

By David Elton

Health & safety (H&S) was a key consideration before deciding to invest in waste management company Renewi. As part of our assessment, Castlefield Fund Manager David Elton met with senior members of the Renewi team to discuss the company’s track record and positive initiatives on H&S.


We live in a throwaway society. From litter in the streets to useful materials ending up in landfill, we could all be less wasteful. Safely creating more of a circular economy is an important objective and Renewi is playing its part in this. Renewi is a waste-to-product business operating in Britain and the Benelux countries.

The company collects, sorts and recycles waste materials arising from a broad range of enterprises including hospitals, factories, offices, shops and restaurants. In doing this, the company plays an essential role in creating new products from old, with the old being anything from mattresses and fridges to road surfaces.

The company has set targets to increase the volumes of waste it recycles, from 65% now to 75% by 2025 (1). To achieve this objective, they are investing in technology to deliver new waste treatment methods and expand the production of secondary raw materials, thereby reducing the amount of waste going to landfill or for incineration.

Health & Safety (H&S)

An assessment of Renewi’s track record on health & safety (H&S) was a key consideration for us when deciding to invest. H&S is exactly the type of risk which, at first glance, seems non-financial in nature but can soon become financial and detrimental to client capital through reputational damage, fines and convictions for H&S violations, if not managed properly. When comparing to other industries we know, the sector is a complicated one from a H&S perspective.

As well as looking at historical H&S data and comparing Renewi to its peers, there were matters we wanted to discuss with the company. We needed to be comfortable that the company takes the health & safety of its employees seriously.

We spoke to Adam Richford (Director of Investor Relations) and Jeanine Peppink-Van der Sterren (Group Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) Director). Jeanine joined Renewi in 2021 from the shipbuilding industry.

We needed to be comfortable that the company takes the health & safety of its employees seriously.

The company has improved its H&S record but Jeanine was brought in to deliver further improvements. In discussing Renewi’s H&S, our impression from Jeanine coming into the Group was also that the fundamentals were there but that there was still more to be done.

Positive Health and Safety Initiatives

As well as touching on specific H&S data, we also discussed several positive initiatives employed by the Group. These include implementing an International Safety Rating System (ISRS) structure, which is a global system used to assess, improve and demonstrate the health of an organisation’s business processes.

Renewi have also introduced Safety Objectives as part of the Executive (and wider) bonus plans, which we sense to be quite progressive. At 15-20% of plans, a significant portion of remuneration is linked to objectives related to the likes of lost time injury (LTI) measures, training implementation, workplace inspections, and root cause analysis performance.

Jeanine is a member of the Executive Committee, meaning that H&S influences decision-making at the very top of the organisation and again is testament to Renewi’s commitment to H&S.

Finally, a central part of Renewi’s present strategy is focused on cost saving and efficiency. Although cost awareness and control is a financial positive, this was also an area of concern for us regarding H&S. The risk being that cost savings come at the expense of H&S.

We were assured by the team that this was not the case and they stressed that the programme was mostly focussed on the customer of experience and digitisation, so it shouldn’t have any material impact on H&S outcomes.


H&S is always going to be a risk in the waste management industry. Renewi, however, realised they needed to do better with it and have taken actions to improve.

Taking into account our view that H&S risk is being better managed now as well as several other positive factors, we proceeded with an investment for the Castlefield Sustainable UK Smaller Companies Fund.

Although it looks as though actions on H&S are also starting to bear fruit, we will continue to engage and closely monitor progress. Reflecting the need to see further tangible improvement, the weighting of the initial investment within the fund was started at a below average size.

Since we bought the shares, H&S performance has continued to improve (e.g. LTI frequency rates have come down) but, as ever, our appraisal and reappraisal of the risk and investment case is never done.

Written by David Elton

1. Renewi Sustainability Review 2022


With investment, capital is at risk.