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newsEngineering News reports that beverage multinational PepsiCo SA’s employee share ownership programme, Bašumi Trust, received the best governance policies and the most innovative funding model awards at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition's Worker Share Ownership Conference on 23 April.

The best governance policies award recognised the Trust for demonstrating the most effective and transparent governance practices in selection of trustees, empowering workers, and promoting worker participation at the highest levels of decision-making. The most innovative funding model award highlighted the trust's approach to funding employee ownership that provided the best financial support to employee-beneficiaries. The Bašumi Trust has 11,452 beneficiaries and is open to all permanent employees who are not directors, such as middle management and below, once they have completed one year of employment. The R1.66-billion Trust was established in November 2021 and is a broad-based black economic empowerment employee share ownership programme. The Trust forms part of the public interest commitments PepsiCo made to the SA government at the time of PepsiCo’s acquisition of Pioneer Foods in 2020. To date, the Trust has distributed R50-million in dividends and R33-million in terms of pro-rata accelerated milestone payments to qualifying beneficiaries. The Trust “serves as an ideal vehicle to demonstrate our dedication to promoting various socioeconomic goals such as job creation, empowerment, fostering talent and developing our associates,” said PepsiCo SA CEO Riaan Heyl.

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