How grocers can create a CSR strategy

8/27/2012

You don't need much time and effort to be responsible these days.

Small changes over time can produce huge impacts.

How can independent grocers create a strategy to become more corporately responsible?

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

Industry Canada defines CSR as the way firms integrate social, environmental and economic concerns into their values, culture, decision making, strategy and operations in a transparent and accountable manner and thereby establish better practices within the firm, create wealth and improve society.

Don't be overwhelmed by the definition. Janice Noronha, consulting and deals manager with a specialization in sustainability and climate change at PwC Canada, a professional services firm,  says to use CSR as a lever that can help you reduce risks, save costs and generate revenue.

The key will be to look for the quick wins within the 3 dimensions of CSR:

1.    Economic Impact
Is there a way you can affect the local economy though small changes? Can you invest funds in your community? Are you supporting  local suppliers?

2.    Environment
Can you address the issues of raw material usage, waste and energy scarcity in your store? Have you looked at incorporating eco-efficiency principles that focus on producing more with fewer resource inputs.

3.    Social
Are you ensuring your customers have access to responsible, healthier and affordable products? Are you ensuring the safety of your employees and customers? Are you providing an ethical, healthy and diverse workplace where employees feel empowered?

CSR isn't new, Noronha says it isn't even about reinventing the wheel, but building on the foundation that you already have.

Find some quick wins, gain momentum and prioritize. But don't forget to measure. Knowing what success looks like and ensuring you measure it internally and externally is key for any successful plan.

“Most importantly, leverage your employees. A key to any implementation is ensuring your employees take ownership of the plan and can be the ambassadors.” says Noronha.

Be sure to pick up Canadian Grocer's September issue to see the winners of our third annual Community Service Awards, recognizing grocers from coast-to-coast who are making a difference in their communities.

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