whole foods market essay

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Adrian Hovelman10/14/2015IMS 3310.005

The World of Whole Foods Market

Thanks to all the advances in communication and technology, it is easier than ever to stay up to date and informed on what we buy, the company that makes the products we buy, and the history behind the company and their products. We dont just simply compare prices and quality anymore when it comes to purchasing a product. We now like to stay informed on how the companies of our favorite products behave behind the scenes. That means knowing how they treat their employees, how they give back to the community, the eco-friendly initiatives they might have, and how they behave in the marketplace. In fact, a study done by Reputation Institute, a private global consulting firm based in New York, your willingness to buy, recommend, work for, and invest in a company is driven 60% by your perceptions of the company-or its reputation, and only 40% by your perceptions of the products or services it sells.Corporate social responsibility, commonly known as CSR, means how a company manages to maximize profits, take care of the community, and staying socially aware both in terms of society and the environment. Simply put, it states how a company operates when it comes to people, planet, and profit. Google likes to summarize their corporate social responsibility as, do not evil. There are different types of categories that businesses practice when it comes to CSR. The most common categories are environment, philanthropy, and ethical labor practices. Whole Foods Market is a pioneer in implementing a CSR strategy for a supermarket. Whole Foods Market was founded in September 1980 by John Mackey. Originally Whole Foods Market was called SaferWay, it now has 431 stores and more than 90,000 employees distributed among the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. Whole Foods Markets corporate social responsibility strategy starts with the founder and co-CEO, John Mackey. Mackey has lowered his salary to $1 and issued caps on net salary executives can earn at the company. When it comes to the environment, no matter how big or small a company is, they leave a carbon footprint. Companies can take various steps to eliminate their carbon footprint by recycling, using your supplies and resources responsibly, and avoiding using products or ingredients that can be damaging for the environment. Whole Foods Market is an industry leader in being ecologically friendly as possible. They have purchased over $4.3 billion megawatt hours of wind-based renewable energy in the last few years. Fourteen of their stores have solar panels and they plan to expand this program to at least 100 stores within the next 10 years. To reduce their carbon footprint, they are testing in of their kitchen labs the practice of putting their waste cooking oil to use by generating it to biofuel. Additionally, they reduced by 25% per square foot their energy consumption in all their stores.Whole Foods Market was the first major supermarket to completely eliminate the use of plastic paper bags in their stores. They now use reusable bags or recycled paper bags throughout their stores. They take being environmentally conscious so seriously that they partnered with Marine Stewardship Council, a global nonprofit promoting sustainable fishing practices to preserve fish stocks. While their shareholders and investors are more focused in business growth and profitability, in 2006, shareholders requested the removal of BPA-containing products from Whole Foods Markets shelves, and Whole Foods happily obliged. Whole Foods Markets efforts have not just won them praise worldwide, it also won them numerous awards from prestigious environmental organizations. They placed third on the US Environmental Protection Agencys list of the Top 25 Green Power Partners. They also received the EPA Green Power Award in 2004 and 2005. More importantly, the Environmental Protection Agency listed Whole Foods Market as the second highest purchaser of green power nationwide. Businesses can behave ethically by giving back to communities. Being ethical does not only mean trying to do well, but also taking the necessary steps to make sure the work environment and society benefits from your business being operational. In 2013, Whole Foods Market was named for the fifth time as one most ethical companies by Ethisphere Institute. Whole Foods Market has above average standards as to what it sells it costumers. Their mission emphasizes this by stating, Our mission is to offer the highest quality, least processed, most flavorful and naturally preserved foods. Whole Foods Market only sells eggs from either cage-free or range-free farms. Whole Foods Market has received much praise from animal activists for their actions revolving the meat and poultry they sell in their stores. The meat they sell is guaranteed to be free of added hormones or beta agonists. They require each of the slaughter plants they are partnered with to go through an intensive annual report done by a third party for animal welfare and food safety. Whole Foods Market also has rating called The 5 Step Animal Welfare Rating that applies to all beef, chicken, pork, and turkey sold in their stores. Farmers and ranchers must adhere to at least the first step rating which ensures the livestock is not raised in cages, crates, or in crowded environments. The strictest rating, the Step 5+, ensures the animal was raised following the step one requirements, as well as living in an enriched environment, enhanced outdoor access, pastured centered fed, went through no physical alterations, and spent entire life on the same farm. Consequently, the price for their meat and poultry is higher per pound compared to other supermarkets. Whole Foods Market is one of the most productive and profitable retailer in the United States, which proves their customers are willing to pay this higher price.Also, Whole Foods Market launched in 2007 a program called Whole Trade Guarantee, a purchasing initiative emphasizing ethics and social responsibility concerning products imported from the developing world. This move attracted many socially responsible investors, as it showed stakeholders they are committed to building relationships with suppliers, and improving the companys reputation. Businesses have a lot of resources such as time, supplies, and money that they can give to benefit charities and other organizations. Consumers love knowing their favorite companies are not only selling quality products, but they also are also not greedy and like to be involved with the community. Patagonia famously co-founded 1% For The Planet, an alliances of businesses in which they pledge to commit 1% of its sales or 10% of its profit, whichever one is more, to environmental groups. Whole Foods Market has a similar approach, in which they donate at least 5% of their annual net profits to charitable causes. They also hold 5% days on certain days during the year in which they donate an additional 5% of the net sales profit made during that day to charitable organizations with close ties to Whole Foods Market and their suppliers. Additionally, they keep morale high with their employees by giving them numerous benefits and a higher than average hourly pay compared to other retailers. The companys average hourly pay in 2013 was $18.89. Whole Foods Markets mentality is, local is fresh, and a result, Whole Foods Market strives to maintain great relationships with local farms. They provide up to $25 million in low interest-loans to independent local farmers who do not have the resources big agricultural farms do. In exchange, they get quality local produce, they help the local community, and they earn a profit all at the same time. Its no surprise Whole Foods Market has continuously been ranked among the best companies to work for. In fact, Fortune magazine has included Whole Foods Market in their annual list of 100 Best Companies to Work For every year since 1998. As stated before, Whole Foods Market embodies everything a present day, modern company should strive to be. They take care of the community, of the stakeholders, of their employees, and most importantly, of their customers.

References5-STEP ANIMAL WELFARE RATING. n.d. .ANIMAL WELFARE BASICS. n.d. .Ferguson, Edward. Whole Foods Market Stakeholders: A CSR Analysis. 18 September 2015. .Kannel, Charlie. Corporate Responsibility Spotlight: Whole Foods Market. 2012 14 September . website. .Lomax, Alyce. Fair's Fair at Whole Foods. 02 April 2007. .Taylor, Nicole Fallon. What is Corporate Social Responsibility? 19 June 2015. .The companys Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Social Performance (CSP). n.d. .What is CSR? n.d. .