Term Paper: Whole Foods Corporate Responsibility

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[. . .] A CSR evaluation for Whole Foods using these procedures is presented in Table 1 below.

Table 1

Strengths and Weaknesses in Whole Foods' Planning, Organizing, Directing, and Controlling Social Responsibility

Component

Strengths

Weaknesses

Planning

Whole Foods is a mission-driven company (Company history, 2013). The company's most recent Form 10-K emphasizes that Whole

Foods Market is currently the world's leading retailer of natural and organic foods and America's first national 'Certified Organic'

grocer" (p. 4).

There are no discernible formal legal, moral, or ethical standards planning processes within Whole Foods. The only remedial action taken against legal, moral, or ethical problems is a reaction to a serious problem that has arisen in one or more of these areas. Likewise, there is no consistent plan for philanthropic giving.

Organizing

The company's domestic Whole

Foods Market stores each employ between approximately 40 and

650 team members who generally comprise 10 self-managed teams per store, each led by a team leader (Form 10-K, 2012, p. 7).

There is no discernible written policy about moral or ethical standards or it is poorly or loosely worded.

Unwritten or loosely worded, vague standards are also poorly communicated.

There is little or no consistent or organized policy of charitable giving with respect to quantity, organization, or location.

Directing

Each team within a store is responsible for a different product offering or aspect of store operations such as prepared foods, grocery, or customer service, among others. The company also promotes a decentralized approach to store operations in which many decisions are made by teams at the individual store level. In this structure, an effective store team leader is critical to the success of the store. The store team leader works closely with one or more associate store team leaders, as well as with all of the department team leaders, to operate the store as efficiently and profitably as possible (Form 10-K, 2012, p. 7).

Little or no direction or support is given with respect to conduct, penalties, or punishments to be taken by management and/or employees in the areas of legal, moral, or ethical standards.

Little or no direction, guidance, or support is given with respect to what the company will do about choosing or giving to charitable organizations.

Controlling

The company's core controlling values are:

* Selling the highest quality natural and organic products available;

* Satisfying and delighting their customers;

* Supporting team member happiness and excellence;

* Creating wealth through profits and growth;

* Caring about their communities and their environment;

* Creating ongoing win-win

partnerships with their suppliers; and, * Promoting the health of their stakeholders through healthy eating education (Form 10-K, 2012, p. 5).

There is poor or little or no control over legal, moral, or ethical conduct. Each team member performs according to his or her understanding and standard of legal, moral, and ethical conduct.

Source: Form 10-K (Strengths) and Anderson (1999), p. 22 (Weaknesses)

Metrics

A well-conducted life cycle analysis should include the following metrics:

1. The costs of air and water pollution and solid wastes that are generated during the raw materials extraction process;

2. The energy used and the pollution that results from manufacturing the product;

3. The costs of the environmental harm that might occur during the distribution and use of the product;

4. The solid or liquid wastes that must ultimately be discarded following final use (Portney, p. 70).

Evaluation of the Company's Mission

The company's stated mission is to promote organically grown foods, healthy eating, and the sustainability of its entire ecosystem. Through its corporate growth, the company reports that it has experienced significant and positive impact on the natural and organic foods movement throughout the United States, helping lead the industry to nationwide acceptance over the last 32 years (Form 10-K, 2012, p. 4). As noted in Table 1 above, though, the company, though, does not routinely publish any information concerning its corporate social responsibilities in these areas. Therefore, addressing these gaps in the company's reporting and directing mechanisms represents a valuable addition to Whole Foods' corporate social responsibility regimen.

Estimated Timeframe for Implementation

Given the multinational aspects of the company's current operations and the hundreds of stores and tens of thousands of employees that are involved, implementing a corporate social responsibility regimen that addresses the gaps identified in Table 1 above will require at least six months to a year for completion, with ongoing audits required thereafter to ensure that all stores have complied with these new requirements.

Projected Budget

Because the gaps that exist in the company's corporate social responsibility regimen involve nearly 73,000 employees and hundreds of stores, the projected budget for these CSR initiatives should be at least $1 million, and provisions for additional funds as necessary for implementation in stores experiencing problems in adapting their operations to the new CSR standards.

Conclusion

The evaluation of the company showed that with respect to planning, there are no discernible formal legal, moral, or ethical standards planning processes within Whole Foods and the only remedial action taken against legal, moral, or ethical problems is a reaction to a serious problem that has arisen in one or more of these areas. In addition, there was no consistent plan for philanthropic giving identified. The organizational component determined there the company does not have a written policy concerning moral or ethical standards or it is poorly or loosely worded which are also poorly communicated. Further, there was little or no consistent or organized policy of charitable giving with respect to quantity, organization, or location identified. With respect to directing, the research showed that little or no direction or support is given with respect to conduct, penalties, or punishments to be taken by management and/or its team members in the areas of legal, moral, or ethical standards. In addition, there was little or no discernible direction, guidance, or support is given with respect to what the company will do about choosing or giving to charitable organizations. Finally, with respect to the controlling component, and perhaps most significant, the company was shown to have poor or little or no control over legal, moral, or ethical conduct among its nearly 73,000 team members. Each team member performs according to his or her understanding and standard of legal, moral, and ethical conduct. Addressing these gaps will require time and money, but the research suggests that the resources devoted to this enterprise will pay for themselves by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of corporate social responsibility practices.

References

Anderson, J.W. (1999). Corporate social responsibility: Guidelines for top management. New York: Quorum Books.

Company history. (2013). Whole Foods Market. Retrieved from http://www.wholefoodsmarket.

com/company-info/whole-foods-market-history.

Nam, J. (2012, Summer). Improving knowledge for green textile products: Life cycle analysis.

Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 104(3), 49-53.

Portney, P.R. (1993, Winter). The price is right: Making use of life cycle analyses. Issues in Science and Technology, 10(2), 69-75.

Appendix A

Whole Foods Mergers and Acquisitions

Corporate Entity

Description

Whole Foods Market

In 1980, John and Rene partnered with Craig Weller and Mark Skiles to merge SaferWay with their Clarksville Natural Grocery, resulting in the opening of the original Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas. Whole Foods Market started its third decade with additional acquisitions of Food for Thought in Northern California and Harry's Farmers Market stores in Atlanta. In 2001, Whole Foods moved into Manhattan, generating a good deal of interest from the media and financial industries. In addition, 2002 saw an expansion into Canada and in 2004, Whole Foods Market entered the United Kingdom with the acquisition of seven Fresh & Wild stores.

Whole Food Company

Whole Food Company (WFC) opened its doors in New Orleans in October 1974. Its mission was to be a grocery store featuring good, wholesome food; not a "health food" store filled with pills and potions. Sales doubled each year for the first four years. By 1978, the store (only 1100 square feet) was doing more than $1 million per year. Success was fueled by a committed staff who were all stockholders in the company. In 1981, WFC opened a larger store on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans. WFC became the largest outside customer of Texas Health Distributors, the wholesale division of Whole Foods Market. In May of 1988, the Esplanade store became the sixth Whole Foods Market.

Wellspring Grocery

Wellspring Grocery opened its doors in 1981, after three years of planning and preparation. Owners Lex and Anne Alexander led a team of home-grown, energetic workers who set out to change the way the Triangle community of North Carolina (Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill) shopped for food. The idea was to offer high quality and great nutrition, and to encourage consumers to be more connected with the food they ate.

The first store, located in Durham, was completely "vegetarian." In 1986, it moved to a larger space two blocks up the street, and in response to consumer demand, added fish, poultry and meat. In 1990,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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