Cooperative Group Example For Free

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Introduction

This report outlines some of the key concerns of the Cooperative Groups employees regarding the overall ethical direction of the Group. The Group prides itself on its commitment to ethical business, be it in the fair trade, environmental or locally sourced areas, and yet it is employees concerns that such standards are inconsistent throughout the Group and are therefore undermining the good reputation of the organisation. This report is particularly critical of the ongoing decision of the group to sell non fair trade products alongside the groups own fair trade products, specifically the promotion of these on a national level. In addition, the report emphasises the need to create much stronger links with local communities both as a means of engaging more with the communities in which the group operates, but also to create a more flexible supply structure based on the availability of local products.

Fair trade and non-fair trade

It is the employees considered opinion that the issue of fair trade and non-fair trade is a key problem within the group’s grocery stores at present. The ethical stance taken by the group in sourcing all of its own brand products from sustainable farms and fair trade networks is certainly to be commended, however, the wider decision which has been taken to still stock products such as Nescafe and Galaxy and Mars chocolate continues to undermine this decision. The ethics of this situation are clear – either one is for fair trade and the wider benefits which this brings, or one is against it and believes that the free market will provide for all. By stocking and thereby profiting from products which do not take this stance the group undermines its commitment to these causes , particularly given the fact that the groups own products in this area are high sellers and are particularly competitive. A stronger commitment here would do much to boost the ethical background of the group. It is also the employee’s belief that this could be tied in strongly with the Cooperative Banks commitment to development projects in developing nations. It seems ridiculous to be giving with one hand and taking with the other and therefore the employees would like to see a more explicit and concrete commitment on this level which could be taken across the Group as a whole. Much of the key development literature on the problem of poverty in Sub Saharan Africa focuses on the problem of creating sustained investment and providing important markets for export for products. The Cooperative Group is in a unique position as the owner of a large bank and a grocery outlet to provide this support and could be a real leader in this field. The public relations benefits of such an approach do not need to be laboured but more importantly there is a real opportunity to use the organisation for good in the world. With the growth of ethical consumerism and the notion of green marketing there is a real opportunity to make a difference in this sector.

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