In the most recent issue of ESMAs part of our Sustainability 2022 role, we spoke with several senior executives working on the global consumer goods and retail landscape about how they seek to set a high bar when it comes to sustainability.
Rafał Rudzki, ESG Director, Żabka Polska
Overcoming the crisis caused by the coronavirus can be treated as an opportunity to rebuild economies with the aim of ‘doing better’, for example, utilizing the opportunities provided by the sustainable development agenda and incorporating more responsible management practices into operations. daily business.
Companies that proactively incorporate sustainable development concepts into their business strategy and core operations benefit in many ways, i.e. their supply chains are more resistant to negative externalities, business practices are more effective, interactions with Stakeholders are more complete and are based on dialogue and trust and, ultimately, it allows to generate shared value.
The pandemic has shown that, both as individuals and as a community, we are capable of taking radical action if we only feel that we are facing imminent danger. We were able to observe the manifestations of new and more sustainable ways of working and consuming.
Everything indicates that the long-term future success of companies will be possible only for those organizations that incorporate sustainable development principles and responsible business practices into their strategies and operations.
Modernity and comfort
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important purchasing factor when choosing products, but only if it is combined with the modernity and convenience of using those products. Currently, being environmentally responsible is perceived as a cultural aspiration and customers are willing to behave responsibly as long as it does not compromise their convenience.
Sustainability is already a key purchasing factor, especially in the premium or lifestyle product segment. At the moment, premium brands can easily differentiate their offering and add value based on a sustainable approach, but in the future it will be much more difficult as the cost will be higher and the sustainable approach will be regulated by the state as standard.
To develop a positive approach towards more sustainable options, leading organizations must devote more efforts to green education and customer engagement for change. Żabka has been doing that for quite some time. Every day, 2.5 million customers visit more than 7,500 Żabka stores in Poland. That gives us many opportunities to provide them with more conscious choices and offer more responsible products and services.
This is also done using modern digital devices, such as a dedicated application used by our customers called żappka. They are awarded points, for example, for returning plastic bottles and cans to EKOmat devices. This promotes positive behavior, which eventually turns into habits.
At Żabka, responsibility is part of our DNA and one of our four values, which led us to develop and implement our new Responsibility Strategy. Through this, our goal is to promote a sustainable lifestyle, enabling clients to improve their daily habits for the benefit of themselves and the planet.
We want sustainable choices to be simple and convenient. We adopt a strategic approach to activities related to social and environmental responsibility, integrating environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) factors with business strategy. We also strive to improve our human, intellectual and social capital, creating financial and non-financial value for all of our stakeholders.
Most clients are declarative about protecting the environment, but if it requires additional effort, expense, or commitment, they may not necessarily want to do so.
Some people, the wealthiest of course, will easily spend a larger budget on products with a so-called clean label, that is, without preservatives. However, a certain group of people will not choose these products for financial reasons.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the company to introduce solutions from which the customer can benefit almost automatically; including better, greener or healthier options. Additionally, by featuring products that are healthy or have no preservatives, we ensure that they are produced and designed in such a way that they are affordable.
Read more: Żabka opens a 100% green energy store in Warsaw
© 2021 European Supermarkets Magazine. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. For more news on the retail sector, click here. Click subscribe sign up ESM: European supermarket magazine.