A Leader In Corporate Sustainable Responsibility – Loblaw

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) seems to be a buzzword these days that gets a lot of attention.  And why shouldn’t it?  In its true form, it promotes environmental friendliness and social responsibility for employees, suppliers and other stakeholders and communities around the world.

Most companies are performing some sort of CSR initiatives and the possibilities are endless.  The question is how far does each company want to take it?  An all-encompassing approach to CSR works best, where companies plan and implement various environmental and social initiatives.

Extensive reviews and top performer lists have been produced on CSR initiatives of different companies and this is the first quarterly article Field Agent will produce highlighting sustainability efforts of Canadian companies.  For our first sustainability review, we have chosen to take a look at Loblaw and its far-reaching effects across Canada.

Loblaw operates more than 1,000 stores and employs approximately 134,000 people, making it one of the largest private sector employers in Canada.  Every week approximately 14 million people shop at Loblaw stores and the company is one of the largest purchasers of Canadian goods and services.  In 2012, it opened 18 new stores and completed 181 major store renovations.  Based on the scale of this company, it is no surprise that its sustainability efforts have profound effects on many people.

The company keeps a comprehensive scorecard of its sustainability efforts and employs a self-rating system on targets met or on track to be met.  Sustainability efforts tracked during 2012 can be seen in the following areas:


Respect The Environment

The company is in the process of diverting waste from different sites including corporate stores.  This year, it diverted 81% of waste from distribution centres and continues to focus on reducing food waste.  The company diverted approximately 1,135,000 pounds of plastic plant pots and flats from landfill.  Paperless e-stubs found their way into the company and the company is trying to reduce packaging and increase the use of reusable plastic containers (RPCs) for shipping.

Energy reduction of 3.1% per square foot was achieved and lighting retrofits were completed in 127 corporate stores.  Four solar panel projects were completed and there are a further 12 under construction.  An increasing number of products are shipped by rail and non-diesel burning trucks and trailers are a focus.  Loblaw replaced 59% of the total transport fleet with new, more efficient trucks that meet U.S. EPA 2010 emission standards.


Source With Integrity

Loblaw employs a “Canadian First” buying strategy and in 2012 the company sourced 31% of produce from Canadian growers.  In addition, the company sources 100% fresh pork from Canada, it offers 108 Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified products and it sources 100% of non-tropical outdoor Garden Centre plants and Christmas trees from Canadian growers.  The company is partnering with farms and agencies in order to secure food from responsible environments.  President’s Choice and PC Organics eggs are sourced from laying hens raised in free-run environments.


Making A Positive Difference In Our Community

President’s Choice Children’s Charity has granted more than $86 million to more than 15,000 families and 13,000 nutrition programs across Canada since its inception in 1989 and in 2012, the company donated more than $45 million to charities across Canada.  Started to roll out the Guiding Stars nutrition rating system that allows customers to rate their intake of calories, sugar, fibre etc. on food products.  Focused on reducing sodium in food products and employed 22 registered dieticians in 50 corporate stores.


Reflect Our Nation’s Diversity

Named one of Canada’s Best Employers for New Canadians and one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers.  Five Loblaw executives received Women of Influence Distinction awards and 45% of management positions are held by women.  The company focuses on ethnic food offerings and has 101 T&T brand products in addition to launching the new Sufra products.


Be A Great Place To Work

Loblaw is committed to educating its workforce on CSR initiatives and developed an online CSR course.  In 2012, it was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People and it has reduced the number of workplace accidents by 52% over the past five years.


Overall, Loblaw is a leader in a comprehensive list of sustainability efforts and it continues to set targets and achieve goals as it views this area of its business as an integral part to the success of the company as a whole.

At Field Agent, we believe that CSR is a powerful tool for retailers and suppliers to reach out to the communities to which they owe their good fortune. It is also a rich landscape for collaboration and best practice sharing among the retailer and its supplier community.

Defining clear goals and working to achieve them creates value for all parties involved.













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