Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance
During its thirty years on the market, our company has adopted a number of measures, procedures and processes resulting in our business having positive impacts on employees and communities in the places and countries where we operate and on the environment in those locations as well. As a leading provider of mobility services in Central Europe, we are proud of our history of successfully building a company which is committed to a fair, non-discriminatory and sustainable approach to all stakeholders, including partners, co-workers, customers, local communities and shareholders, which in the long run enables us to increase the value of our company.
AURES Holdings plays an essential role in the circular economy, providing sustainable solutions for the used car industry. Our role is two-fold and we seek to optimise our impact and efficiency in this area. Firstly, we re-sell pre-owned cars and if necessary, change dysfunctional or unsafe car parts. This way we help to extend the product life, which is beneficial according to our research for vehicles up to 12 years of age. On the other hand, cars, which are too old, harm the environment due to car design allowing high tailpipe emissions. Therefore, we have committed to decrease emissions from our sold fleet, which is practically done by bringing down the proportion of old cars re-sold.
GHG emissions and e-mobility
AURES Holdings has based its sustainability strategy on principles that are material to our industrial focus. Being a retailer active in the automotive industry, our largest impacts on the environment are in the area of GHG emissions and resource consumption.
We have committed ourselves to reducing GHG emissions from our own operations in line with the Paris Agreement and to become carbon-neutral by 2025.
Emissions generated by transport in Europe are still on the rise. The average age of vehicles in our area of operation is 14.5 compared to western Europe of 11.5 years (source ACEA). Older cars have higher CO2 emissions. We see it as equally important to gradually reduce emissions from the fleet of cars sold to our customers (Scope 3 downstream GHG emissions).
We see a number of ways of how we as a pre-owned car retailer can contribute to decreasing the emissions of fleet sold:
- provide information to our customers about the average emissions of each car sold in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a commitment focussed on disclosures of the environmental parameters of the product. Along with this goal, we will gradually decrease the carbon footprint of tailpipe emissions by 40% by 2025 from the fleet sold shown as a % decrease per car against 2018.
- grow the share of electric cars and hybrids combined in our product portfolio as well as help to develop the charging infrastructure by equipping all our branches with an EV charging station by 2025.
- extend our ability to provide nearly new cars to a greater audience by expanding our network and reach of customers through new locations and the expansion of existing capacity. This can also be done by connecting our new Western Europe locations as sourcing platforms for younger CO2 friendly vehicles. We commit to invest and open 15 new locations and increase our capacity by 25% by 2025.
In our own operations, respect should be paid to the use of resources. Most importantly, we see our impact as material in the consumption of water and generated waste. We aim to reduce the total water consumption per car sold by 20% by 2030 and increase the rate of recycled disposable waste per car sold by 10% until 2025.
AURES Holdings employs almost 3 000 people in 5 countries, who share the same vision, values, mission and passion for cars and achievement. In the last 30 years, we have developed a strong internal culture. Almost 200 people have been with the company for more than 15 years, including the company’s top management, our employees are an essential part of our success.
We offer multiple development programmes and training courses uniquely tailored to our employees’ needs and career level to help them develop and grow with the company.
Diversity and inclusion
As a multinational company operating in 5 countries of the European Union, our staff is composed of individuals from different countries and demographics. This diversity is truly important to us, as it equips us with the readiness to communicate with our customers in the local language and allows us to learn and share important knowledge of local markets and customer behaviour.
Given our international nature, AURES Holdings places emphasis on promoting equal opportunities regardless of gender, age, religion, nationality, disability, race and sexual orientation. Under our compliance codex and other internal policies, our employees must refrain from engaging in discriminatory behaviour. Treating every employee with the same respect is a requirement. Our internal policies give examples of direct and indirect discrimination, and they define which personal characteristics are protected by law. Strictly prohibited behaviour includes bullying, sexual harassment, stalking, defamation and hate speech that will not be tolerated by the company.
Health & Safety
We do everything to protect our employees from accidents and occupational illnesses. Our basic approach to occupational safety and health protection is set out in our internal policies.
Responsible product & services
Our products are used cars, and each deserves a thorough description. Therefore, we commit ourselves to being as descriptive and as transparent as we can be to provide our customers with reliable and accurate information about our products and services.
GOVERNANCE AND ETHICS
Group Chief Executive Officer
Karolína Topolová has been the Company's Chief Executive Officer since 2012 and the Chairperson of its Board of Directors since 2015. She began her career as an Assistant Program Manager at the Hilton Diamond Club (HDC). She later became the HDC Program Manager of a telemarketing sales team, in charge of selected VIP clients of the Hilton hotel network, at the Prague Hilton Atrium hotel.
In 1998, she established the Group's call center, which has grown from five employees to a professional team of more than 200. She held the position of call center head from 1998 to 2006. From 2006 to 2007, she served in the positions of Group HR head and call center director. From 2009 to 2012, she held various positions including Deputy CEO and COO, while she was also head of the sales, financial and insurance services, call center, human resources, IT and external communication divisions.
She has repeatedly been ranked in the TOP 25 WOMEN OF CZECH BUSINESS, in 2020 she won the 1st place in the managers category and this year she entered the Hall of Fame. She also regularly appears in the list of the Most Influential Women in the Czech Republic according to Forbes magazine. She also received the Lady Pro 2015 and Young Management Talent 2015 awards.
Group Chief Operations Officer
Petr Vaněček is a passionate automotive retail executive and has been the Company's Chief Operating Officer since 2014 and a member of its Board of Directors since 2015.
He has extensive experience across the full spectrum of the Company’s operations. Petr has held several management positions in various divisions, including in the Group’s buying division covering exports and imports gaining invaluable international retail experience and a deep understanding of the European pre-owned car market. During his time in the Group’s buying division, Petr was responsible for driving Aures’ cross border arbitrage business and was appointed as Director of Procurement in 2006 where he developed the sourcing infrastructure and established the Group’s pricing function sourced from sector experts and industry analysts. In 2014 he was appointed as Chief Operating Officer for the Group.
Since then Petr has played a pivotal role in establishing the Group’s data source division, seamlessly integrating this essential service across all of the Group’s operating divisions and played a major role in the Group’s entry into the nearly new car market through the creation of premium segment brand Mototechna.
He has transformed the organisation into a technology led operation in every aspect across the Group and played a major role in supporting Aures’ fantastic growth.
Group Chief Financial Officer
Vasant joined us from beginning of January 21, as Group CFO and a Member of the Management Board. During his vast career he has worked with great global brands, companies owned by Private Equity/Public/Wealthy Individuals in Automotive and Transport industries.
He is a highly experienced senior business executive having played various roles at operational and group/divisional level in capacity as CFO, Commercial and IT, CEO and Business Development Director within Europe with focus on modernization of finance organization, digitalization, transformation and business development with results driven mind-set and a proven track record of delivering double digit cash returns on exits.
He spent 2/3rd of his career with within Car Rental /Leasing spectrum where buying and selling cars is a natural extension of the core activity. The remaining 1/3rd of his career was within European Bus transport industry. He has held senior roles within Avis, Hertz at EMEA division and lastly with Europcar Mobility Group at divisional and at operating level. He was CFO of Concordia Bus Nordic, a majority owned Goldman Sachs PE fund group with SEC registered traded High Yield Bonds on Luxemburg exchange. He also held position as Finance and Commercial director for London Bus Division at First Group Plc and as a CEO of easyBus an ecommerce retail Bus operation start up for Sir Stelios (easyJet founder).
He began his career as a Chartered Accountant and worked for KPMG and has a base in London.
Our Management Board is responsible for making management decisions at the holding level.
Stephen Neil Hopewell
Chairman of the Supervisory Board
Stephen Neil Hopewell has been a member of the Supervisory Board since 2016. From 1987 to 1991, he held the position of the General Manager of Pendragon Plc and was involved in its initial public offering in 1989. From 1991 to 2002, he held the position of Operations Director of Pendragon Plc. From 2002 until today, he has been the owner and manager of the UK's Lindop Brothers Toyota dealership chain owning three Toyota and one Honda dealerships. From 2006 to 2016, he held the position of a consultant to the senior management of the Company. From 2007 to 2016, he held the position of the Head of global consulting division at ASE Global PLC. He holds a Bachelor degree in Economics / Agricultural Economics from Nottingham University.
Anthony James Denny
Supervisory Board Member
Member of the Supervisory Board since 2015. Founded AAA Auto group of companies in 1992 and served as CEO from 1992-’97 and 2006-2012. Member of the Management Board 1992-2015. 40 years experience in retailing new and used cars. 30 years experience in the cross border trade of used cars to and from most continents. Currently investing in Automotive startups around the world and mentoring superstar future CEO’s.
Supervisory Board Member
Vratislav Kulhánek has been a member of the Supervisory Board since 2018. Vratislav is an experienced business manager in automotive and former Chairman of the Czech Ice Hockey Association, graduate of University of Economics, Prague and European Business School. Previously, he held the position of the chairman of the board of directors of Škoda Auto, member of the supervisory board of Škoda Auto, CEO of Robert Bosch, president of the Czech Industry Association and vice-president of the Czech Confederation of Industry.
Wojciech Adam Lukawski
Supervisory Board Member
Wojciech Adam Lukawski has been a member of the Supervisory Board since 2015. He has 14 years of private equity experience, predominantly in Poland. His current focus is on the consumer finance, automotive and infrastructure sectors. In the past, he was on the management board of two mass privatization funds in Poland, overseeing the restructuring and disposal of over 120 former state-owned companies. Prior to this, Wojciech was Finance Director of companies in the construction and textile industries. He also spent a number of years working in an mergers & acquisitions advisory capacity. Wojciech is a graduate of, and has a Master's Degree from, Lodz University.
Stephen John Richmond
Supervisory Board Member
Stephen John Richmond has joined the Supervisory Board of the Company in 2021. Stephen has more than 20 years of private equity experience in CE and is a Partner and Chief Financial Officer of Abris Capital Partners, being responsible for all financial, legal and other operational areas, focusing on creating a professional organization acting on industry best practices. Prior to Abris, Steve was a Partner at Copernicus Capital where, after working for four years in Warsaw, he was responsible for the firm’s office and investment activities, initially in Zagreb and subsequently in Belgrade. Before joining Copernicus, Steve held senior management positions with two PE-backed UK companies. Steve has a degree in Zoology from the University of Leeds, UK.
Supervisory Board Member
Lenka Zajíčková has been a member of the Supervisory Board since 2020. Serving as the Group Head of Legal since 2014 and Compliance Officer since 2020, Lenka is coordinating and overseeing the Company's entire legal agenda. She has been working in advocacy since 2001, attorney-at-law since 2006. She has been cooperating with the Company since 2010. In 2015, she was a member of the team and the main coordinator of the post-transaction corporate restructuring that followed the acquisition of AAA Auto Group N.V. by the Company and the subsequent cross-border merger of AAA Auto Group N.V. and AAA AUTO a.s. into the Company. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University in Brno.
AURES is governed by a set of corporate rules, policies, laws, processes and institutions that define our current corporate governance model and ensure a long-term vision through good governance.
Our commitment to business ethics is managed by our Management Board through the ESG Committee and the Compliance Officer to ensure integration of ethical behaviour across all our business units, geographies and operations. Through our Code of Ethics and associated policies, AURES also applies zero tolerance against corruption and for that reason requires suppliers and partners to observe professional and honest business practices.
Our Compliance Manual and Code of Ethics are at the heart of our compliance system and apply to all our employees, Board members, contractors and business partners alike.
Our Code of Ethics includes rules related to:
- Compliance with all valid legislation
- Protection of environment
- Mutual respect
- Protection of confidential information and know-how
- Responsible communication
- Health and safety
- Teamwork and loyalty
- No substance abuse
- Diversity and equal opportunities
- No violence and harassment at the workplace
- Company property protection
We are committed to a fair, honest and polite approach to our customers and business partners, applying zero tolerance of bribery and corruption. Within our Compliance System, AURES has clearly set out clear and transparent rules on conflict of interest management, donations and sponsorship and gifts and hospitality.
Our Compliance manual is a set of basic rules that ensure compliance in each of the Group's areas of activity. The Compliance Manual also implements the role of Compliance Officer and describes the procedure for dealing with incidents and breaches of legal and internal regulations. Each employee must report any breach or suspected breach to his or her supervisor; for more serious incidents and compliance incidents, the Compliance Officer must be informed in addition to the supervisor. The content of the compliance manual is summarised in the brochure "Compliance Codex", which is a hands-on and easy to digest practical guide for our employees.
AURES Holdings Sustainability Report describes which topics with regard to environmental, social and governance issues are most material to us and our stakeholders. In relation to the defined material topics, we report on our achievements, challenges and progress in sustainability performance made over the year.