Here’s where Waitrose really begins to shine. Their efforts and transparency in trying to improve the lives of their employees and local communities should not go unrecognised. For 17 years they have openly shared a CSR report that shows their policies, principles, environmental impacts, supplier decisions, community work and more.
This report is an in-depth and fascinating insight into how Waitrose actively approaches sensitive topics such as farming, health & wellbeing, diversity, inclusion, and the discussion of modern slavery.
In 2017, more than £4 million was donated from branches into their local communities to support various schemes. They also gave workshops and talks to more than 180,000 children in schools in the same year. The money collected from the plastic bag charge went to Alzheimer’s research at UCL, and was an impressive £3.2 million.
Staff are always referred to as partners, and as such they receive additional financial dividends for their hard work. A recent drive to improve health & wellness in the workplace has seen them receive discounts for recreational activities and hotels around the country. As well as this, a mental health service has been introduced for staff, with positive results shown, which will no doubt back up their attempts to become Britain’s Healthiest Workplace.
One of the most impressive and heartwarming aspects of their CSR efforts is that they set up a network for every demographic that might feel marginalised, or would require some extra support to reach their full potential. These eight networks are explained below.
LINKage - The intergenerational or age network. It aims to build awareness of the benefits and challenges of an intergenerational workforce.
Working Parents - Working Parents aims to support individual working parents and inspire the way that the Partnership supports working parents.
UNITY - The Partnership’s official network for BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) Partners.
Gender Equality Network (GEN) - GEN aims to challenge stereotypes and influence the business in its thinking as it relates to gender.
Pride in the Partnership - The Partnership’s LGBT+ network, which promotes inclusivity and provides support.
Faith, Belief and Religion - Aims to educate, celebrate and challenge the Partnership on faith and religion.
Ability - A group of Partners who face mental, physical and learning challenges, who aim to raise awareness.
School of Thought - Aims to help Partners understand their unique qualities and perspectives and use them to challenge the status quo.
Of course, we’ve already explained how Waitrose helps their farmers, and it’s important to note that they are a supporter of Fairtrade products too. However, one act that might go unnoticed is that they are supporting coastal communities through the Great British Beach Clean, with 15 events throughout 2017 and 2018.