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Retail

Sustainability 2022 – Jef Colruyt, Chief Executive Officer, Colruyt Group

In the most recent edition of ESM, as part of our Sustainability 2022 feature, we spoke to a number of top executives working across the global retail and consumer goods landscape about how they are seeking to set a high bar when it comes to sustainability.

Jef Colruyt, Chief Executive Officer, Colruyt Group

Sustainable entrepreneurship is in Colruyt Group’s DNA and runs as a common element through all our operations. At the same time, starting with an economic impetus, we aim to make a positive difference, socially and ecologically, always with long-term results in mind. We believe that, in this way, our entrepreneurship drives sustainable change.

Through our strategic place in the chain, we have an impact on our customers, suppliers, partners and society at large. Conscious of this strong connection and constant interaction, we want to play a meaningful role for everyone who is involved in our business, and create added social value.

To this end, we have worked for years to make our own operations and activities more sustainable, are investing heavily in innovation and – more than ever – are building sustainable partnerships with various partners.

Despite a particularly challenging year, we have continued to invest all-out in sustainability and not a single project was shelved. In short, even in challenging times we continue to raise the bar for sustainability.

We are also proud of what we have already achieved over the years, but are equally aware that the sustainability story is never complete. That is what makes us constantly dedicated to making a positive difference together.

Customer Decision-Making

We are convinced that sustainability will be a key indicator for customers to give direction to their decisions. As a retailer, we feel it is our responsibility to guide them in these sustainable choices, by offering transparent information that will help them make these balanced choices.

The launch of ‘our’ Eco-Score here in Belgium, of which we are the initiator with Colruyt Group, frames perfectly in that ambition.

The impact that a supported scoring mechanism can have, plays an important role. From this knowledge we have also looked for a scientifically supported mechanism around the Eco-Score, which we launched recently. The intention is that we can also increase the impact for the consumer by cooperating with other players and increasing the maturity of the scoring system.

Also, we do not 'wait' for customers to change their purchasing behaviour. We continue to actively increase the sustainability of our assortment, in various areas (health, animal welfare, environment, society, etc.). This is to ensure that, on the one hand, we raise our 'basic' bar (e.g. working more with recycled plastic for packaging, sourcing even more Belgian fruit and vegetables) and, on the other hand, we help steer the market in certain areas (e.g. living income for chocolate, reducing food loss through innovations, better chicken commitment, introducing Belgian mussels).

A Core Part Of Operations

Sustainable entrepreneurship is in Colruyt Group’s DNA and runs as a common element through all our operations. At the same time, starting with an economic impetus, we aim to make a positive difference, socially and ecologically, always with long-term results in mind.

We believe that, in this way, our entrepreneurship drives sustainable change.

Through our strategic place in the chain, we have an impact on our customers, suppliers, partners and society at large. Conscious of this strong connection and constant interaction, we want to play a meaningful role for everyone who is involved in our business. And create added social value.

To this end, we have worked for years to make our own operations and activities more sustainable, are investing heavily in innovation and – more than ever – building sustainable partnerships with various partners.

Step By Step

We want to roll out this commitment widely through [sustainability communication programme] ‘Step by Step’, a clear common language for all aspects of sustainability. For this reason, we link products, services and initiatives with clear, strong aims and a demonstrable impact on health, society, animal welfare or the environment to one or more icons.

That way, our efforts towards sustainability are visible at a glance and we give consumers and employees tools for making more conscious, better choices, intuitively. We bring a distinctive story that motivates and inspires consumers and increases confidence in Colruyt Group.

© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. For more Retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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