Assessing the difference, that 'doing' makes – Impact Workshops in the Czech Republic and Poland for Europe's largest grocery retailer
Europe's largest grocery retailer wants to make a positive contribution in seven internationally specified categories that cover all aspects of sustainable development in retail.
Each category – home, nutrition, animal welfare, climate, supply chain, employees and nature – is in turn assigned topics that provide orientation for those responsible in the retailer's national companies when setting priorities and developing CSR measures.
The challenge: Each country in which the retailer operates has different socio-economic requirements. This has an impact on the significance of the issues and requires country-specific adjustments to the international issue specifications and priorities.
Assessing the difference that 'doing' makes: Together with the CSR officers in the national companies, we conduct workshops to determine the potential contribution of the topics to sustainable development. In doing so, we also take into account the expectations that stakeholders have of Europe's largest grocery retailer with regard to the respective topics.
The assessment of the potential contribution of the topics to sustainable development on the one hand, and the expectations of stakeholders on the other, enables the retailer's national companies to focus on key issues. While the different country characteristics are taken into account, the comparability and homogeneity of the topics is still ensured across all companies.
Together with those responsible on international level and the respective CSR representatives in the countries, we have already held workshops with the board members and managing directors in the Czech Republic and Poland. Further workshops will follow in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania.
Assessing the difference that 'doing' makes
A central challenge of the project was to assess the potential contribution of the topics to sustainable development. Specific datapoints are only available for isolated topics, e. g. in connection with climate change. Especially for social issues, the causal relationships are not linear and have not been conclusively clarified. Calculations require assumptions that dilute the result.
What is already possible today, however, are "educated assumptions". During the workshops, we trained participants to become experts in the respective topics who can make educated assumptions about the potential impact of the retailer's involvement. Existing facts, figures and data on global challenges and the influence of the retail trade on these topics serve as a basis for evaluation. In addition, participants were provided with country-specific best practices through which the retailer could make a contribution to the respective topic.
The results of the assessment are matched with the results of stakeholder surveys conducted in each country. The resulting materiality matrix enables us to focus on topics that are significant from a stakeholder and sustainability perspective.
The materiality matrix is crucial for the strategic focus and derivation of CSR measures. Additionally, it forms the basis for CSR reporting.
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