Listening to and working with our stakeholders
We know that we can’t achieve our ambitions alone. We need to work with our stakeholders to make sure we use our scale and expertise to contribute to society, as well as to find out what we are already doing well and where we can improve.
This year we have stepped up our engagement programme by engaging with over 50 leading stakeholders, both at a national and an international level, to assess our existing work and, using their insight, to shape and steer our strategy to use our scale for good. Many of them had worked with us before, but some we were meeting for the first time.
We’ve heard that many stakeholders feel that corporate responsibility has not been sufficiently core to our business in the past. Many others feel that our engagement with them has been inconsistent and that we weren’t always as open and transparent as we could have been. We know our stakeholders want us to be more collaborative, to share more of our expertise and data and look to work more in partnerships with other organisations. We aim to make this integral to our work.
Our three big ambitions have been warmly received by the majority of those we have engaged with. There was a broad consensus that as one of the world’s leading retailers, we should be using our scale to help create opportunities for young people, improve health and reduce food waste.
In recognising that we have a huge amount to learn on these complex issues and are unable to tackle them single-handedly, we will establish an external advisory panel who will work directly with our senior leadership team. This panel will be critical in helping us shape the strategic direction of our work and provide an honest assessment of our performance.
As we start laying the foundations of our plans, we are committed to engaging more constructively, transparently and regularly with our stakeholders. We hope this will ensure our focus and efforts remain relevant, our partnerships deliver as much as they can for the good of society and, through better engagement and stronger stakeholder relationships, we engender more trust in our business within the communities we serve.
Customer Question Time events, special focus groups, home visits, surveys and on-going research trackers through loyalty programmes, customer services, a new brand scorecard and Twitter.
Anonymous annual survey, appraisals and career discussions through our colleague intranet sites, social network site Yammer and a new scale for good website.
Specific consultations with the socially responsible investment (SRI) community and a dedicated investor relations team.
A range of industry bodies including the British Retail Consortium, CBI, The Sustainability Consortium and the Institute of Grocery Distributors and co-chairing the sustainability steering group of the Consumer Goods Forum.
Community Champions spending time in the community and extensive engagement programmes for every new store.
Commercial and technical managers working directly with suppliers underpinned by the Knowledge Hub, the Producer Network and an anonymous Supplier Viewpoint questionnaire.
Regular engagement and partnerships, where appropriate, with governments (politicians and policymakers), industry bodies, and key opinion formers, including NGOs, academics and think tanks. Establishment of an expert advisory group on using our scale for good (by end 2013).