Achieving Sustainability Through Corporate Social Responsibility: A Case Study Of Woolworth In Australia

Woolworth: the largest grocery market in Australia


Identify an individual organisation that utilises sustainable practices. Take the following steps:

1. Select an organisation that you can easily access information about.

2. Identify its sustainable practices – these may be human, physical environmental or other.

3. Discuss them in detail.

4. Comment on their value to the organisation and other relevant stakeholders.

5. Describe how you will measure this value.

6. Critically appraise future prospects for the organisation, if appropriate.

7. Reconcile the sustainable practices with the literature/theory and/or best practice.

Woolworth is considered as the most renowned and successful brand of Australian retail market and this is known as the largest grocery market in the international market place. Both of the company accounts for almost 80% of the market share in the market of Australia (Shape Your World, 2014).  Till the year 2014, the total number of stores presents in the country Australia accounts for 872 and in the market of New Zeland the company has total 156 supermarkets. The company has undertaken the steps to go to in the international market through engaging itself in the external environment of the organization and through taking various policies related to the sustainability.

The advisory group has been formulated by the organization, Woolworth for attaining the sustainability. The advisory group comprises of the leaders from different fields and those are the leaders who are expert in the environment related study, the leaders who are expert in the studies related to the corporate social responsibility and there is a person who knows regarding the sustainability issues (Doing the right thing, Sustainability Strategy 2007–2015, 2015). The company has made some partnerships for the achievement of the sustainability and the partnerships are made with different groups and those are Landcare Australia, Ethical sourcing, CSIRO and with the Australian food and the grocery Council (Turner, etal, 2003). The company Woolworth is associating with the Landcare group for the purpose of the sustainable farming and the programs which is used as Drought Grants Partnership. There will be various projects which will take the permission of grouping in the sustainability and those projects will be operated under the guidance of the Landcare and the staffs of the organization Woolworth will get the opportunity to volunteer the projects. CSIRO which has introduced the programs related to the Future fuels program is basically a research program which is being organization for the purpose of bringing the stakeholders group together (Shape Your World, 2014).. With engaging in the partnership with the Australian food council and the grocery Council a debate is organized in the concept of carbon foot printing scheme (Jones, etal, 1980). The company is organizing the programs for educating the consumer base of the company for the purpose of showing how the process of recycle is going on in the context of the company and how the contamination are being reduced from the ingredients used in the products (Holme and Watts, 1999).

The stakeholder engagement policy is used throughout the overall business environment for the purpose of the achievement of the sustainability. The company has a large employee base and the company accounts for 180,000 employees throughout various geographic bases. Though it is quite difficult for the company to implement the sustainability practice throughout the employees of the organization but, it is also true that for the company Woolworth the quality of the products is an important issue. The initiatives for the sustainability are undertaken from the ideas gathered from employees and also from the other stakeholders of the organization Woolworth. The employees are engaged in the initiatives taken for the sustainability program through engaging them into the awareness program undertaken by the organization. Apart from the environmental correction the company also undertakes the policies regarding the empowerment of the employees. The employees are provided the knowledge regarding the mission and the vision of the organization and the employees are provided the training regarding how to educate the college regarding the issues related to the sustainability or how to influence the colleges in the matter of the sustainability.

Partnerships for sustainability: Landcare Australia, Ethical sourcing, CSIRO, and Australian food and grocery Council

Numerous working groups are being formed by the organization in order to establish and spread the strategies regarding the sustainability.  Mainly in case of the development of the strategies on the issues involved the energies and green house gases the organization has taken various steps including setting the target for green house emissions, target for the sustainable transport facilities. The organization has set the criteria for packaging and other practical issues related to the environmental issues. Different employees from various groups will be selected for the implementation of the strategic plan.

The company has set a separate strategy for the sustainable development through the implementation of the corporate social responsibility in the context of the organization. Mainly to maintain the brand image of the company and also the reputation of the company the organization undertakes the corporate social responsibility and the company also considers the regulatory requirement of the countries in which it operate (Cullingford and Blewitt, 2013). The credit Union of the organization Woolworth is accountable for maintaining the ethics and the social responsibility in the everyday basis operation of the company (Ness, 1992). The company provides the funding for the course and the candidate can get the insight especially, the academic insights related to the agricultural study. In the other corporate social responsibility related programs like the community support programs through which the organization provides charity. The company has also initiated the “fresh food” program in which the company does rescue the food which is considered as wastage and delivers that food to the deprived and the needy people in the society (Fernald, etal, 2012). There is a program introduced by the organization Woolworth which is based on the “Fresh food future program” and which aims in investing in the rural areas of the country Australia.

The sustainable growth of the organization Woolworth depends on the fresh food products sourcing. The company has invested in reducing the carbon which accounts for AUD 66.5 million and which aims to enhance the efficiency of the organization. The investment has helped to reduce the operation cost of the brand which accounts for AUD 110.9 million within the year 2015. The company has aimed to attain the sustainability through the development of the animal welfare and the company is going to be a member of the “Sustainable Palm oil” (Turner, etal, 2003).

The consumer preferences for the semi-prepared meals have increased the need for the energy usage of the new stores. For fitting the refrigerator, air conditioning and the other equipments for a long term basis ( generally for 10 years of time period) it is necessary to make decisions which help to provide the sustainable development in the context of the organization. The generation of the renewable energy in the sites and the energy from the solar power can help for the sustainable development and for the future sustainable strategic development (Carroll and Buchholtz, 2014).

In case of transport there can be two different ways through which the environment negative impacts on the transport can be reduced and in this case, the maximization of the vehicle space is required and the usage of the special feet is also required. The company has the objective for the reduction of the 25% of the CO2 and to increase the use of the alternate fuels by 13%.  In the retail industry though water does not require to a large extent but, the source of water should be secured enough (Dyllick and Muff, 2013).


The company Woolworth has taken the initiatives for the sustainability mainly by two different ways and those are the environment security or protection and the other way is the corporate social responsibility (Gibson, etal, 2013). The environmental protection and the employee empowerment are the two key issues which can affect the sustainability of the organization Woolworth and also the long term competitive advantage of the company. For protecting the environment the organization has planned various programs which aim to reduce the C02 and the other environmental negative impacts from the market. The corporate social responsibility is another aspect in which the company can target for the sustainability. The corporate social responsibility does not only help to enhance the features and the brand image of the organization but, it also helps to enhance the long term sustainability of the organization.


Doing the right thing | Sustainability Strategy 2007–2015. (2015). 1st ed. [ebook] Wool Worths Limited.

Shape Your World, (2014). Company Profile: Woolworths International – Shape Your World. 

Jones, T. M., Indexes, S., Register, E. I., & Socially, M. (1980). Corporate social responsibility. California Management Review, 22(2).

Holme, R., & Watts, P. (1999). Corporate social responsibility. Geneva: World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Ness, M. R. (1992). Corporate social responsibility. British food journal, 94(7), 38-44.

Carroll, A., & Buchholtz, A. (2014). Business and society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management.UK: Cengage Learning.

Turner, B. L., Kasperson, R. E., Matson, P. A., McCarthy, J. J., Corell, R. W., Christensen, L., … & Schiller, A. (2003). A framework for vulnerability analysis in sustainability science. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 100(14), 8074-8079.

Dyllick, T. L., & Muff, K. (2013). Clarifying the Meaning of Sustainable Business: Introducing a Typology from Business-as-Usual to True Business Sustainability. Available at SSRN 2368735.

Gibson, B., Hassan, S., & Tansey, J. (2013). Sustainability assessment: criteria and processes. UK: Routledge.

Cullingford, C., & Blewitt, J. (Eds.). (2013). The Sustainability Curriculum: The challenge for higher education. uk: Routledge.

Fernald, A., Tidwell, V., Rivera, J., Rodríguez, S., Guldan, S., Steele, C., … & Cibils, A. (2012). Modeling sustainability of water, environment, livelihood, and culture in traditional irrigation communities and their linked watersheds. Sustainability, 4(11), 2998-3022.

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