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Today's post is on Chapter 25, Contributing to Competitiveness in Retailing by Engaging in Sustainability: The Case of Migros, by Thomas Rudolph, Kristina Kleinlercher, Marc Linzmajer, and Cornelia Diethelm. The chapter reviews how the Swiss retailer, Migros, found a competitive niche by broadly embracing sustainability in their products and operations. The chapter begins with a review of how business organizations often view sustainability. As the authors note, "...many Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) treat sustainability initiatives detached from business objectives." However, some companies have found ways to use sustainability in order to create a competitive edge. The rest of the chapter focuses specifically on one such company--Migros.
The authors of this chapter note that the foundational start of Migros set them on the sustainability path. Ideas around sustainability and equity have always been part of the mindset of the company. Today, there is a distinct sustainability office and all employees are encouraged to submit ideas as to how the organization can become more sustainable.
The chapter then goes on to highlight some distinct initiatives at the company:
- Generation M. These are distinct promises to the next generation as to particular goals of the company.
- From the Region for the Region. This initiative seeks to build relationships with local producers to supply the local markets.
- Private-Label Products. Migros developed their own private label to enhance the sustainability of products they sell.
- M-Way. This is a transportation initiative that seeks to advance electronic vehicle use.
- Sharon. This is a car-sharing initiative that allows people to rent out their vehicle for a cost.
- Reducing Food Waste. This is an initiative to reduce food waste within the company.
- Integration of sustainability into corporate leadership
- Strong engagement from employees
- Guidance and monitoring by top management
- Development of a sustainability team
Here are some class discussion questions when using this chapter for a unit on sustainable management or sustainability retailing.
1. Consumer preferences for sustainable products, such as local produce, have increased. What do you think is driving that change?
2. Describe the nature of Migros' business operations and philosophy.
3. How does Migros benchmark its green initiatives?
4. How does MIgros' management system infuse sustainability within its operations?
5. What is an example of a Generation M promise?
6. How have consumers responded to the From the Region For the Region label?
7. What strategies does Migros use to reduce food waste?
8. Do you think the Migos approach could be used by other retailers? How?
Previous Entries in This Series
Chapter 1: Sustainability Definitions, Historical Context, and Frameworks
Chapter 2. Sustainability and Natural Landscape Stewardship: A US Conservation Case Study
Chapter 3. Policy Design for Sustainability at Multiple Scales: The Case of Transboundary Haze Pollution in Southeast Asia
Chapter 4. Sustainable Water Resources Management: Groundwater Depletion
Chapter 12. Urban Social Sustainability: The Case Study of Nottingham, UK