NTUC FairPrice leads with more strategic approach through measured goals and indicators to track CSR contributions [Press Releases]

October 17, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Singapore, 17 October 2011 – NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice) today held its second Partners Convention where over 300 supply partners attended. Themed “CSR – The new norm for retail”, the half day convention focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and included new data from a consumer survey in Singapore. FairPrice also became the first supermarket and hypermarket chain in Singapore to declare its CSR measurable goals and targets as well as outline its strategic pillars.

FairPrice was established by the Labour Movement in 1973 to ensure that essential items were available to all Singaporeans at affordable prices during a time of economic and social turbulence. Through the years, FairPrice has remained true to its social mission through various initiatives to moderate the cost of living. While this social mission has remained its fundamental focus, it also recognises that there are other important aspects of CSR that it can contribute towards.

Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO (Singapore), NTUC FairPrice, said, “Our social mission has always been a fundamental priority for us and we will stay true to our role in providing affordable essentials to all. As a leading retailer, with over 100 supermarket and hypermarket stores, we believe we can create a bigger impact and extend our social responsibility beyond moderating the price of essentials. This is why under our new CSR framework, we aim to be the leading responsible retailer, caring and doing the right things for our customers, our staff, our community and our environment.”

To consolidate and drive its CSR efforts in a more strategic manner, a FairPrice CSR Committee was set up at both corporate and board management levels earlier in 2010. The committee comprises members from FairPrice’s Senior Management across business functions such as the human resource, purchasing, operations, organisation development and corporate communications. Central to FairPrice’s CSR strategy are four values – buying and selling responsibly, sharing with the community, protecting the environment and caring for our staff.

These values are translated to four strategic pillars – Responsible Retailing, Community Care, Sustainable Environment, and Wonderful Workplace – with data on its current performance and corresponding targets for the future. Having clearly defined key performance indicators will enable FairPrice to better monitor its performance and track its progress on its CSR front.

For example, under the Responsible Retailing pillar, FairPrice currently achieves a 95% Internal Quality Audit score, which is based on HACCP and ISO 9001international standards, for its stores. It aims to not only maintain this high standard for food safety and quality but also achieve greater excellence and increase this score to 97% in 2016. Under the Community Care pillar, FairPrice intends to increase the number of staff volunteers for community initiatives by over 7 fold by 2016. Currently, about 100 FairPrice staff are actively involved in volunteer work. Under Sustainable Environment pillar, FairPrice aims to achieve a 10 percent year-on-year increase in the number of plastic bags saved by 2016. In the last financial year, FairPrice saved 6 million plastic bags through its Green Rewards initiative.

Looking inwards, under the Wonderful Workplace pillar, FairPrice intends to achieve an average of 40 hours of training per employee annually by 2016, compared with the current average of 25 hours of training annually. FairPrice supports the local workforce and about 90 percent of its staff are Singaporeans or permanent residents. FairPrice also launched a pilot project earlier this year for seniors above 60 to seek employment as Customers Relations Officers, where they will be dedicated to assisting customers with their needs and queries and actively gather feedback from customers so as to improve the offerings at FairPrice.

Commenting on the FairPrice CSR Strategy, Mr Seah adds, “This framework is really just the beginning. Our newly launched CSR microsite is a new communication platform that will allow us to share how we are progressing in our CSR commitment as well as to gather feedback from our stakeholders, which will enable us to create an even greater social impact.”

Further information on FairPrice’s CSR framework is available publicly on the FairPrice CSR microsite (www.csr.fairprice.com.sg), which was launched today.

Survey on consumers’ response to CSR

Research data from a survey conducted by The Nielsen Company among 500 grocery shoppers between August to September 2011 were presented at the Convention. The door-to-door survey, commissioned by FairPrice, sought to understand consumers’ views on CSR and the impact of CSR on their buying behavior.

Key findings include:

  • 3 in 4 customers expected retailers to be actively rolling out socially responsible initiatives before they would consider them as socially responsible retailers.
  • For a company to be consider socially responsible, consumers expect the following
    – Ensuring affordable price and low profit margin (35%)
    – Selling products that are safe and of good quality (35%)
    – Helping the less fortunate (12%)
    – Good customer service (10%)
    – Adopting and promoting green practices in operations (6%)
  • When asked which supermarket is considered the most socially responsible, over 6 in 10 respondents (61%) named FairPrice as the most social responsible supermarket retailer.
  • Amongst the respondents who named FairPrice, they cited the following reasons:
    – Ensuring affordable price (49%)
    – Selling safe and good quality products (29%)
    – Helping the less fortunate (18%)
    – Good customer service (11%)
    – Providing jobs for local community (6%)
    – Adopting / promoting green practices in operations (5%)
  • The top 5 most important CSR initiatives respondents rated for a supermarket retailer include:
    – Selling products that are safe for consumption (77%)
    – Selling products that are safe and of good quality (77%)
    – Providing jobs for the local community (54%)
    – Helping the less fortunate (48%)
    – Being a fair employer (46%)
  • Social responsibility can influence shopper preference and behavior:
    – Preference: 9 out of 10 respondents (89%) prefer to shop at supermarket retailers who are ethical, honest and promotes responsible retailing
    – Image: Supermarket retailers who are socially responsible are more likely to be respected (87%) and trusted (80%) by consumers
    – Loyalty: 7 out of 10 (68%) say that they are likely to shop more frequently at supermarket retailers who are socially responsible
    – Price Premium: Half the respondents (50%) are willing to pay more on products from supermarket retailers that demonstrated a socially responsible behavior
    – Participation: 1 in 2 respondents (54%) said they are willing to purchase a reusable bag and participate in store recycling activities

On the survey, Mr Seah said, “The survey reaffirms that we have taken the right direction in first providing safe and quality food that is affordably priced. Beyond this, we also see that shoppers want supermarket retailers to care for the community and the environment. FairPrice Foundation has been contributing to the community and sustaining the environment over the past few years and we will continue to do so for many years to come.”

Highlights of Past CSR Efforts

FairPrice set up the FairPrice Foundation in 2008 to help provide a better life for the community. Fully funded by FairPrice Group, the Foundation has donated $28 million to the community to-date. The funds have been used to help the poor and needy with their daily needs, support nation building and community bonding events, as well as advancing workers’ welfare.

In 2009, FairPrice introduced the FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme in 2007 to help reduce plastic bag wastage. We were the first supermarket to reward our customers with a rebate when they bring their own bags to pack their grocery purchases at FairPrice on any day. The continued support from our customers has yielded good results with about 5 to 6 million bags saved per year in the past two years.

FairPrice also launched Singapore’s first eco-friendly supermarket at City Square Mall in December 2009. The store showcases the latest eco-friendly solutions in grocery retailing, which include usage of recycled and biodegradable materials for store fixtures, energy-saving equipment and lighting, as well as “green technology” like the reverse vending machine.

Apart from this, FairPrice has a Green Committee which looks into improving environmental management as a whole for the organisation. Last year, a Green Policy was initiated at its stores, corporate offices and warehousing facilities island-wide to reinforce everyday measures to reduce energy and water consumption and promote recycling. Some measures that have been implemented include encouraging staff to reduce paper usage by printing on both sides and to recycle. A pool of reusable grocery bags is also available for staff when they buy their groceries.

Source: NTUC FairPrice

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