Social responsibility reporting, co-operatively


While Foodstuffs and its retail brands are household names and perceived as individual companies, they are part of  two separate co-operatives – Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island – with all the supermarkets run by independent owner-operators.

This complex structure presented unique challenges when Foodstuffs asked Wright Communications to assist it with the development and writing of its annual Social Responsibility Report.

We had to be constantly aware of the multiple retail and wholesale brands, different business policies, varying time periods for reporting, and differences in sustainability priorities or activities in each co-operative or store.

This was the context behind writing a Social Responsibility Report for two co-ops that wanted to lift their game in sustainability reporting and deliver higher levels of disclosure and transparency. The 2021 report would also be built on a recently developed corporate social responsibility strategy and new targets that had been established for the next four years.

The Wright approach

We worked closely with the Corporate Social Responsibility Managers and team at Foodstuffs Marketing and CX – an overarching business unit – to develop the framework and content for the report.

This involved meeting with the Foodstuffs CSR team weekly over a six week period, discussing story ideas, gaining an understanding of the differences between the two co-ops and brands, reviewing the many supporting documents available on a shared online platform, drafting content, responding to feedback, amending drafts, and, finally, proof-reading the final document.

We also interviewed the Chief Executives of both co-ops and blended their views on sustainability performance into a single introductory statement.

The outcome

The end result, published in mid-August within the CSR Section of Foodstuffs’ website, is an informative report that aligns to its sustainability strategy, and includes initial progress against the new targets and a rich variety of stories on Foodstuffs’ sustainability efforts – from supporting foodbanks during COVID lockdowns to pioneering electrified refrigeration trucks.

“We are very happy with the result and you guys played a really big part in helping us to deliver it. Not just the copywriting but also your advice on where we had gaps and should focus our efforts. We also appreciate your flexibility as our business model is complex and it required some juggling to ensure we got the right mix of messaging across all parts of the businesses. But we got there thanks to a great team effort.” - Marshall Gardiner, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Foodstuffs Marketing and CX

The Foodstuffs Social Responsibility Report 2021 can be found here:

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