Attached you will find my analysis of ICA Gruppen's corporate citizenship using a model provided by the Boston College. ICA Gruppen is a Swedish retailer and owns Rimi. In the appendix, you can find a table with direct quotes from their website and CSR policies. Please let me know your thoughts!
It would be nice to have a discussion on how people would classify things differently :)
Corporate Social Responsibility Analysis ICA Gruppen
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As sustainable approaches to business become widely adopted, it is being treated as a continuum rather than binary. Meaning, we are interested in the EXTENT of your sustainability rather than checking if your business is sustainable or not. Problems arise when the extent of sustainability is expressed in the "outlook" a company has or the way they communicate. Communication and words are free, actions are hard. We are not talking about greenwashing anymore, it is greenER washing.
The comment in the conclusion is not judging whether ICA Gruppen is sustainable, it is asking if the forward striving language they use is reflected by the actions they take. The language often puts them in a stage where (in my opinion) they do not belong yet. This is more of a critical note towards the way the Boston College framework classifies and defines some of their stages. The model is not that forgiving for companies that strive to go to the next stage, but are not there yet.
Rob Tulder in his series "getting all motives right" looks at the motives behind companies and checks whether it is in line with their actions. The stages he uses are: passive, reactive, active, proactive. Furthermore, he analyzes intention and realization as separate and battling dimensions. Definitely an interesting read for people who are interested in jobs analyzing companies for their sustainability approaches, or interested in creating standardized frameworks. It is however less useful for finding connections between your social enterprise and larger companies :)
I think this work as standardization in different industries. It takes many years to build up a robust structure and embedding it into the organizational culture. Once the amount of organizations using these tools and framework reaches a critical point it will be perceived as a (new) mainstream. I guess traditional business metrics where introduced the same way.
In my opinion, one of the possibilities is to see if the report on economic, environmental and social performance is indeed in accordance with the core option of the international guidelines drawn up by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). If the disclosures (and the persons writing the report) are transparently presented on each indicator it is already brilliant. In addition, information in the report should be supplemented with specifications from other reporting standards such as the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. But of course, I agree that external audits and national and international verification are important.
Very good questions @Dianka D. The best way of verification is transparency (which is also part of the Boston College's dimensions) when in fact everyone, easily can check the validity of statements. Another way is when there is an independent third party evaluation or audit. For example, This is the way companies receive the title of B Corporation.
Wow, Lucas, you just made the life of future students much easier. All they need to do is to read your analysis to understand how the stages of Corporate Citizenship can be applied to a real company.
From the report, I did not really understand what ICA Gruppen does at first, since I have never purchased any product with any of its subsidiaries. But after understanding their involvement with food and health, as a potential customer someday, I am very appreciative of the fact that they prioritize quality. I am particularly impressed that 90% of their suppliers will be quality-certified by the end of this year. This figure will someday be 100%. That is commendable.
But your last remark in your conclusion is a fair one. How do we really verify what companies write in their CSR reports? What if we cannot verify all of the information, do we disbelieve it? Or do we just believe the parts we were able to verify? Who should ask for receipts on all these self-stated achievements? Food for thought.
OMG @Lucas de Bont you made an entire detailed analysis :) This is far beyond the assignment.
I am regularly buying grocery in Rimi in Tallinn and to be honest based on the everyday experience as a regular customer I didn't recognize their so deep commitment to CSR. I am particularly interested in their food waste policy as it is mentioned in the document while I know that in Estonia this is still a huge problem in the retail sector. @Katri-Liis Lepik is running a social enterprise organizing catering service using unsold food, maybe she has experience with Rimi.