Pictured Kari Daniels, CEO Tesco Ireland and Ronan Murphy Chairman of BITCI
Tesco Ireland recently achieved the Business Working Responsibly mark. We chatted to Lorraine Shiels Head of CSR and Internal Communications at Tesco about going for the Mark, the preparation required and the business benefits.
Why did Tesco go for the Business Working Responsibly mark? What was the business reason?
At Tesco one of our core values is ‘Every little help makes a big difference’ and it guides us to make the right decisions for our colleagues, the communities in which we operate, and our customers as we work to build a more sustainable business for the future. Two years ago we launched the Little Helps Plan, our sustainability and corporate social responsibility plan that brings together and focuses our business on the areas where we believe we can make the biggest societal and environmental impact – our People, Our Products and our Places. Through this plan we’re addressing issues such as food waste and packaging, sustainable sourcing of the food and drink we sell, diversity and inclusion and much more.
Our colleagues are at the heart of the Little Helps Plan, driving our progress towards the key targets we’ve set and making real, lasting change. We are incredibly proud of this work and really wanted our colleagues’ work recognised as best practice externally. That’s why we applied for the Business Working Responsibly Mark. As a long-time member of Business in the Community we recognise the value that achieving the Mark can unlock for our business, from increased colleague morale to building a better brand, and were excited to apply.
How did you go about the process of getting ready for achieving the Mark and prepping for audit?
Sustainability is built into our business plans at Tesco and we work collaboratively across our teams in Ireland and with colleagues and suppliers internationally to make Tesco a better business. We closely govern our Little Helps Plan and the key decisions we take to make our business more sustainable, and this gave us a great initial platform to understand the key stakeholders we needed to have involved in the application process for the Mark.
The Mark process involves two distinct steps – an initial online application and then an audit. With the support of the Business in the Community team, we took some time to really understand the level of input required to complete the online application and how we could tell our story in a really great way for the assessors – we had so much to talk about it was hard to fit it all into the form, a challenge in itself! Working collaboratively with the key experts in our business we went about completing each section of the application, gathering key policies and documents as we progressed to help us prepare for the audit stage.
After successfully passing the application stage, a three day audit with the NSAI was planned to assess our policies and practices in head office, our distribution centres and our stores. This involved an auditor meeting with colleagues across our business to ensure we were not just talking about sustainability, but truly implementing change in our business from the ground up. This gave our colleagues an opportunity to show their passion, enthusiasm and expertise in areas such as pollution and waste management, corporate giving, customer relationship management and more.
You have just achieved the Mark, what benefits do you think it will provide to Tesco?
We are delighted to achieve the Mark for the first time and to be recognised as one of Ireland’s leading sustainable companies. As Ireland’s only independently audited standard for CSR and Sustainability, the Mark accreditation recognises our colleagues’ efforts to incorporate sustainability at the heart of everything we do, making the right choices as we work to serve Ireland’s shoppers a little better every day. It also assures us we are on the right path on our journey to build a better Tesco, and provides us with key insight and continued support to improve into the future.
Hear from Kari Daniels, CEO Tesco Ireland on the importance of achieving the Mark.