Friday, January 22, 2010

Just a Nugget of CSR

I was looking at Fortune 2010 Best Companies to work for which I became aware of via a Tweet by CSR Master-Tweeter @davidcoethica.

Company number 5 on the list is a privately owned family grocery store business called Nugget Market.. The top  reasons cited fur Nugget's ascent are the 10% monthly discount for employees on groceries up to $500, and the fact that the bosses surprised the employees by washing their cars at an employee appreciation event. Ok, I think, (rare occurrence, I know) this doesn't seem like such a big deal. What can it be that propels this small Company to the near-top of such a prestigious list, ahead of giants like Cisco and legends like Whole Foods and even Goldman Sachs, who pay more in bonuses and compensation ($16.2 billion set aside in 2009) than little Nugget people could hope to earn in the next decade (2008 revenues were $287 million). So, I thought (hmm, getting used to this thinking thing), let's take a look at Nugget Market Webbet Sitet. (careful, that's subtle). Actually I was interested if Nugget Market discloses anything about sustainabilty or corporate responsibility.
What do you think ? Take this test.

Does Nugget have a CSR policy ?
A:  Yes, it's wonderful and shows that Nuggest is committed to good business AND sustainability
B:   Not really, but they do contribute to the community
C:   No, so we can assume that they don't care about CSR
D:   No, they probably think that washing employees cars is enough

What does Nugget do to manage its impacts on the environment?
A:  Everything
B:  Nothing
C:  Oh tons, but it's just nowhere to be found on their website
D:  They wash employees cars to ensure employees don't waste water doing it themselves 

Why does Nugget's recipe for baked mahi-mahi look so delicious?
A: Because the mahi-mahi  is sourced from a Greenpeace sustainable fishery
B: Because you have to drink it with taut, supple and herbal Sauvignon Blanc
C: Because anything with a name like mahi mahi deserves the benefit of the doubt
D: Because well, heck, i'm all out of Chunky Monkey and anything looks good at this point

Does Nugget publish a CSR or a Sustainability Report ?
A:  Yes, but it hasn't been written yet
B:  They will do when they work out what it is
C:  Of course not, sustainability reports are only for BIG companies
D:  Come on, no one reads sustainability reports.

Now count up all your A's, B's C's and D's. Award yourself 1 point for an A, 4 points for a B, 17 points for a C and 27 points for a D. Add up your total. Check your result.

01 - 27 points:  You failed. You found zilch about Nugget CSR policy.
28 - 29 points:  You failed. You know nothing about Nugget CSR policy.
30 - 43 points:  You failed. Nugget CSR plicy is a mystery to you.
44 +     points:  You failed. Nugget and CSR remains an open question for you.

But don't despair, if you want to go work for Nugget, you have some very clear guidelines about how to present yourself. Do not dye your hair purple or pierce your upper lip. And if you didnt take a shower last week, forget it !

I think it's great that this small Company ( @Nugget_Market ) has excelled at being a good employer and this is not to be understimated. It is one of key elements of a sustainable business. I think it's great that Nugget have a strong sense of community and charitable works. Nugget obiously has a strong customer following  and appears to be a respected local business.

I just find it a little frustrating that such a great business, with 9 food stores and 1,300 employees, does not take the opportunity to show even greater leadership and do even greater business by adopting a Corporate Responsibility policy and examining its overall impacts, particularly with regard to sustainable sourcing, food labelling and traceability, and overall environmental impacts. And possibly even a little transparency .. you know I love CSR reports.
Is this asking too much ? 

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm based in Israel. Visit our website at: 

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