Organic Retailing, Waitrose lead the way in the UK

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Organic Retailing, Waitrose lead the way in the UK

To many, organic retailing is a new trend, but Waitrose in the UK have lead the way since 1983. The August edition of Boss introduced a story by Susan Owens on “How Green is my Supermarket.” In 2007 Waitrose, the UK retailer carries the largest amount of organic produce of any UK retailer with 11300 lines on the shelf. In 2001 the company refused eggs from factory farmer raisers and even started its own poultry farm. The company consists of 184 retail operations and in 2006 its profits rose by a staggering 27% with a 4% share of the UK grocery market, but 19% share of organic food sales in that country. By the Olympics in 2012 it will have 204 stores throughout the UK. Waitroses’ policy is a lesson for all retailers: Buy from farmers within a 48km range of the store The company offers financial incentives to farmers to go organic The company promotes “Bag for Life” shopping bags It refuses to put sweets and chocolate at checkouts Products on the shelf are fully traceable When it buys from overseas (e.g. citrus) it has a charitable fund for education in those countries It supports Fairtrade e.g. bananas from Windward Islands Staff have a say of what is put on the shelf Directors and managers are elected via a democratic process by employees The company works on what it calls the CSR Principles: Demonstratable, legal COMPLIANCE in all areas Invest in ethical and environmental performance that is financially attractive Corporate leadership on social responsibilities 2% of pre-tax profit is given away to selected charities; in 2006 AUS$12.7 million was donated. Farmers Markets are often critical of supermarkets and look on them as the enemy. Waitrose should be looked on as a friend, plus it provides lessons for all retailers.