Corporate Social Responsibility: Morrisons

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  • Topic: 2006, Morrisons, Supermarket
  • Pages : 5 (1773 words )
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  • Published : October 23, 2006
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Morrisons recently published last April its "Corporate social responsibility report" (CSR report, 2006) for the previous financial year. The report puts high regard on Morrisons' effort to minimise the impact of its business operations on the environment. Moreover, the report stresses the catering of the interests of its "key" stakeholders, namely its customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders. Recalling way back before it completely took over the ownership of Safeway in 8 March 2004, Morrisons expressed its endeavour to recognise its social and environmental responsibilities under the operation of a business ethics working group (Telegraph & Argus, 2003). In this paper, I shall assess the company's CSR programme in the most comprehensive and balanced way possible against news accounts dating since the Safeway takeover by highlighting the actual business practices of Morrisons with regards to claims contained in its CSR report. One of the sustainability issues that Morrisons accentuated in its CSR report is its fish procurement policy. Morrisons ensures that it is "buying from the most sustainable sources and finding the least depleted stocks." Greenpeace UK comments about the sustainability of the company's fish policy, considering Morrisons as the "worst fish retailer" in Britain. The company allegedly has been catching "seafood species in highly destructive ways," a practice that is exemplified by lobbing back to sea fishes and other marine life caught up in nets either as dead, dying or waste. This sparked activists to stretch out a banner on the flagship store's roof outcrying "More reasons not to shop at Morrisons. No. 1: Worst fish retailer," alongside an image of a heap of by-catch. In response to this protest, Morrisons agreed to further consider its fish policy—not only about the source from which it procures its fish, but certainly also the procedures it implements for doing so. The second of the sustainability issues stated in the report is concerned with the "supply of palm oil as a commodity ingredient" in its products. One in every ten products on display at the UK supermarket contains palm oil such as bread, detergents, crisps and lipstick. Plantations of palm oil are devastating the rainforests in Borneo and Sumatra, home to the endangered orang-utan. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was founded as a joint initiative between companies and non-government organisations to support the harvesting of palm oil from sustainable sources. Most UK supermarkets, including Asda, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, and the Co-op, have joined the RSPO. Morrisons have yet to join. Morrisons claims in its CSR report of an on-going salt reduction programme for several food products including cereals, bread, snacks and ready meals. Excess salt in the diet causes high blood pressure that results to a heightened risk of developing stroke and heart diseases. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and National Consumer Council (NCC) thus recommends no more than 6g of salt in adult diets and even smaller amounts for babies and children. A research study reported by website reveals that two of Morrisons' own label cereals, Right Balance and Kellog's All-Bran, have the highest salt amount per suggested dietary allowance. Moreover, the supermarket's Golden Puffs has been categorised as poor for containing the highest sugar content at 55g per 100g serving. Thus, Morrisons' effort to make progressive reductions based on recommendation by the FSA as well as by NCC's Health Responsibility Index league table has a long way to go. The issue on food labelling has also made clamours to the consumer community when in 25 May 2006, as Tony Howard reports on the Salford Advertiser, Morrisons sold out-of-date food products at its Eccles branch. Expiry or "sell by" date generally applies to perishable food products that could be unsafe when eaten pass this date. Although Morrisons declare it as an isolated...
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