• Internal Code :
  • Subject Code : ABS201
  • University : ducere
  • Subject Name : Corporate Social Responsibility

Executive Summary

CSR is an evolving business practice which tends to incorporate sustainable development within the organisation’s business model and has a positive impact on economic, social, and environmental factors. To contribute towards environmental sustainability and increase market share and branding, Woolworths Group, one of the largest and well-known Australian retail companies, has strategized its CSR policies. A total of 20 commitments have been decided that are likely to encourage diversity, contribute towards making a healthy planet and ensuring prosperity of its customers. In this report, detailed information regarding the CSR practices of Woolworths Group will be provided that shall allow the reader to understand the company’s vision and its contribution towards sustainability.

Table of Contents

Introduction.

Business overview..

Overview of the CSR program..

Woolworths CSR strategy 2020.

Discussion and evaluation of the Value-added CSR..

Conclusion.

References.

Introduction

In an era that is dominated by a socially conscious environment, customers and employees place a premium on working for as well as spending money with those businesses that prioritize CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). By practising CSR or corporate citizenship, an organisation becomes conscious about the kind of impact that their actions are having on society and their contribution to the economic state. This study will shed light on the CSR activities performed by Woolworths Group and identifying their opportunities for value-adding CSR. The contributions that CSR practice has provided to Woolworths Group shall also be discussed in this study.

Business Overview

Woolworths Group is one of the well-renowned Australian-based companies whose interests expand throughout New Zealand and Australian regions. After Perth-based retail conglomerate, Wesfarmers, Woolworths Group is the second-largest retail firm in terms of revenue generation. In addition to this, the company is the largest liquor takeaway retailer and largest poker gaming machine operator in Australia. Its main operations include liquor retailing, supermarkets, pubs and hotels under the umbrella of the Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) Group. The company employed around 205,000 numbers of employees and has a total A$59.98 billion revenue in the year 2019 (Woolworths Group, 2020). 

Overview of the CSR program

Woolworths Groups considers strategizing their actions that could offer a positive advantage to its employees, customers and contribute towards the environment. Being one of the largest and diversified businesses and hundreds of communities every week, the organisation has tremendous opportunities and Woolworths never fails to astound its employees and customers owing to its strategic actions and CSR plans. 2020 is no exception and Woolworths Group has already planned its strategic actions in terms of offering opportunities to its employees and serving customers with lucrative services.

Woolworths CSR strategy 2020

People: For encouraging diversity-

  1. In this upcoming year, at least 40% of senior managerial and executives post will be held by women

  2. Male and female employees will be given equal opportunities with no salary gap and workplace discrimination

  3. An unconscious completed bias trained will be provided to every new team members to increase their proficiency (Woolworths Group, 2020)

  4. Throughout the year, Woolworths Group shall continue to focus on its strategy that fosters cultural diversity

  5. To support Aboriginal employment, the company has secure 2% of its employment opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island members

  6. 2% of the graduates will also be indigenous as a support to the Aboriginals

  7. A workforce will be created specifically to embrace new opportunities and foster the wellness of its employees.

  8. Achieving Gold Tier employer status regarding bisexual, lesbian, transgender and gay inclusion in the workforce. 

Planet: As a contribution to environmental sustainability, Woolworths Group has decided to reconsider its actions that seem to be vulnerable to the environment. The following are some of the strategies as mentioned in its CSR 2020 report-

  1. The company shall encourage its customers and employees towards zero food wastage for lowering landfill

  2. As a movement towards a circular economy, recyclability of the company's brand packaging will be further improved that might contribute towards making green planet (Woolworths Group, 2020)

  3. The company has planned to create an awareness regarding the use of sustainably sourced products. The raw materials that would be used by the company for manufacturing products would be environment-friendly and renewable

  4. The company plans to achieve zero-deforestation commitments for its high-impact commodities like palm oil, timber and packaging. This aim shall be achieved by combining sourcing from the independently-certified sustainable supply chains. In those areas where this sourcing is not feasible, credible offsetting schemes might be implemented to reduce environmental wastage.

  5. The company has also planned to reduce carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2020 through continuous research, training and using energy-efficient technology that might lower carbon usage.

  6. The company targets to innovate natural refrigerants and lower refrigerant leakage by almost 15% by the end of 2020. The company has installed several hybrid refrigeration systems in more than 226 stores. This technology reduces the potential of refrigerants towards depleting ozone layers. The company has further planned to install 10 natural systems like transcritical CO2 and water loops to contribute its part towards maintaining environmental sustainability.

Prosperity: Woolworths Group focuses on making positive relationships with its suppliers and employees and providing services to rebuild trust with the customers. The following are some of the strategies as mentioned in its CSR report-

  1.  For improving worker’s lives, Woolworths Group has focused on establishing an ethical sourcing policy that will be followed and abided by every employee working for the Group. The company audits its brand factories for evaluating compliance with ethical principles. It’s goal is to focus on making its compliance system highly effective and best as per the Global Social Compliance Program.

  2. In addition to this compliance program, the company has set an additional goal to improve worker’s lives by collaborating with peak organisations. Woolworths Group will try to increase disclosure and transparency, improving the traceability and scope of audit as well as ensuring capacity buildup (Woolworths Group, 2020).

  3. Kuhn and Mostert (2018) suggested that trust as well as being valued as a consumer, are some of the cornerstones of customer satisfaction. Woolworths will continue to innovate its products and services to satisfy its customers and to contribute towards making a better community. Through customer-satisfaction metrics, the company will track down their preferences and changes will be manifested accordingly.

  4. The target is to inspire customers towards consuming all of its products healthily and sustainably. Woolworths Group is likely to develop an affordable healthy eating index which will be based on customer's shopping behaviour. 

  5. Woolworths Group has omnipresence across the rural and urban areas of Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, the company can use its resources for partnering with communities to improve the health status and well-being of the customers. Such an initiative would create new employment opportunities for the Kiwis and Australians as well as support communities that are facing natural disasters with relief funds.

  6. Using the London Benchmarking Group methodology, Woolworths Group will try managing the community investments and ensure to meet the targets in 2020.

Being a part of the society, Woolworths Group has strategically set up its CSR strategy for 2020 in recognition of the responsibilities that they intend to carry out and might influence the customers, employees and shareholders positively. 

Discussion and evaluation of the Value-added CSR

The Corporate Social Responsibilities of an organisation advocates businesses to act sustainably- in the broadest sense to contribute towards the betterment of the world. Michel and Buler (2016) opined that CSR policies of an organisation have some inherent benefits, especially for SMEs. large multinational organisations are likely to expand their market size, retain more employees and increase productivity through CSR policies. Rodriguez-Fernandez (2016) added that for easier access to the capital and better financial performance, CSR policies play a major role.

Salvioni and Gennari (2017) suggested that value creation occurs at times when organisational resources are combined in ways that could increase the productivity of these resources. Therefore, value creation is about innovation of products and services. Woolworths Group has taken initiatives to contribute towards making a better society and a sustainable environment. Apart from knowing their contributions and strategies, it is also essential to understand how those CSR policies could benefit the organisation. This is explained as follows- 

Commercial-  Woolworths believes that strong relationships with its suppliers will add better value to the customers through innovation and collaboration. Their new CSR strategy will help the company to rebuild trust by collaborating with peak organisations and incurring customer satisfaction.

Customer- Woolworths is concerned about the wellness of its customers thus, through awareness campaigns would sustainably inspire customers. Such a strategy or initiative would ensure customer satisfaction as they would think that the company thinks about its better health outcomes. Such an insight will ensure customer acquisition and loyalty that would ultimately boost up their profitability rate.

Societal- Woolworths will further engage with the local communities and understand their preference and shopping habits. The company has decided that 2% of its employees would be indigenous people. Such a strategy towards society not only elicits a positive power to the workforce but gives long-term benefit to the company.

Market- Woolworths’ 2020 CSR strategy includes partnering with peak organisations, more engagement with societies and getting involved with the charities and environmental campaigns. Working outside the industry could provide the organisation, easy access to the market and form new networks. This shows the benefit that CSR strategy is likely to make to the market environment of Woolworths. 

Conclusion

Therefore, Woolworths Group’s CSR policies show its commitment towards societal, economic, and environmental sustainability along with offering lucrative services to the customers. Woolworths considers this fact that employees are the pillars of the organisation and special commitment that fosters their safety and security has been ensured in their CSR report. The organisation has focused on improving recyclability and ensuring zero wastage that could lower landfills and positively contribute to environmental sustainability. Woolworths is highly concerned about the health outcomes of its customers and thus, a special health awareness campaign has been set up to educate customers regarding healthy ways of consuming their products that could promote their health status. Although the services and products offered by this company are highly approved by the customer, yet depending upon the end-year results, the success rate of this report could be further evaluated.

References

Kuhn, S. and Mostert, P., 2018. Relationship intention and relationship quality as predictors of clothing retail customers’ loyalty. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 28(2), pp.206-230.

Michel, N. and Buler, S.A., 2016. Maximizing the benefits of corporate social responsibility. How companies can derive benefits from corporate social responsibility. In 2nd PAN-AMERICAN INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE, PIC 2016 24-26 February, Buenos Aires Argentina (p. 511).

Rodriguez-Fernandez, M., 2016. Social responsibility and financial performance: The role of good corporate governance. BRQ Business Research Quarterly, 19(2), pp.137-151.

Salvioni, D. and Gennari, F., 2017. CSR, sustainable value creation and shareholder relations. Salvioni, DM & Gennari, F.(2017). CSR, Sustainable Value Creation and Shareholder Relations, Symphonya. Emerging Issues in Management (symphonya. unimib. it), 1, pp.36-49.

Woolworths Group (2020). Corporate Responsibility Strategy 2020, viewed on 12th April, 2020 from https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/icms_docs/186036_woolworths-group-corporate-responsibility-strategy-2020.pdf

Woolworths Group (2020). Our Businesses. Viewed on 13th April, from https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/page/about-us/our-brands

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