After a recent purchase at Shopper’s Drug Mart, I noticed my receipt described a potential prize of $1,000.00 if I completed an on-line survey. Well, why not try?
I was surprised to see the following question on their survey: ‘How aware are you of our corporate social responsibility initiatives?’ Being totally unaware, I visited their Corporate Responsibility page to find out what they have. (My time references may be incorrect as the information was not dated and their last website update seems to have been in 2008.)
First, I found out that they received an award by Corporate Knights, the Canadian magazine for responsible business,’ designating them as one of the best 50 corporate citizens. And in 2008 they were ‘recognized as one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, by the 2008 Corporate Culture Study™ conducted by Waterstone Human Capital Ltd. and the National Post.’
Here are the four main components to Shopper’s corporate responsibility program, with several specific examples.
- in Ontario they achieved a 12.9% increase in waste diversion, saving the equivalent of 372,827 trees through fibre recycling; expansion of these programs to other regions across Canada was planned for 2009
- energy efficiency measures were planned to replace neon lighting with LED, and to install new refrigeration controls to cut consumption by 50%
- the choices for ‘eco-friendly products’, organic food and ‘green’ cosmetics are being increased to meet customer demands; I will add here that while I toast their eco-friendly cleaning products from companies like Method (a B Corporation member) I would be happy to see more cruelty-free cosmetics as they offer very few
- Shopper’s does not have manufacturing facilities of their own but are diligent in reviewing the practices of their suppliersto ensure ‘that they act in accordance with all applicable environmental and labour-related laws and regulations.’
- vendor agreements, manufacturer’s audits, third party audits and and random testing all contribute to their due diligence for maintaining or ending a supply agreement
- an employee engagement survey received a 70% response rate which showed both good points and areas to work on. In response to the survey, two employee recognition programs have been initiated.
- making internal hiring a priority led to a 31% increase at the director level in 2008
- numerous training programs have been introduced for pharmacist’s technicians, cosmetic advisors and managers as well as tuition assistance programs
- in 2008, a Chief Diversity Officer position was created, to provide further leadership and commitment to the creation of a workforce diverse in gender, age, sexual orientation, education, race, religious affiliation and natural origin. From a research project in diversity a few months ago, I learned that the appointment of a specific person to lead such a program is critical to achieving success in workforce diversity.
- Each Shopper’s location is owned by a single pharmacist-owner who is ‘committed to serving the health care needs of their community with personal service, professional expertise and community spirit. Who better to understand the needs of your community than a member of your own neighborhood?’ In theory this sounds great but the commitment needs to be driven by the owner’s beliefs not just his address.
- charitable donations are given to many levels of organizations including 245 ‘grass roots’ organizations through their Tree of Life community donation program. It would be interesting to know how much is given outright by the corporation as opposed to their campaigns which request donations from customers at the check out.
My conclusions about Shopper’s responsibility initiatives are mixed. Some components are admirable and others sound like green washing. With more current information and additional details it would be easier to make a decision. In a future post I will check out other drug stores and see how they compare. And if I win that $1,000 from their on-line survey, I’ll let you know.