Whole Foods has been touted as of one of the most ethical companies for a few years now. I enjoy grocery shopping there despite the high prices because, in the absence of a convenient farmers market, I like to know I’m supporting local industry. Also, its store-made prepared foods are like what I would make myself and not loaded with preservatives and other chemicals. Its commitment to organic and locally grown foods has made it popular with health and environmentally conscious consumers. Over 70% of its employees are full-time and eligible for health benefits. Part-time employees can also be eligible after a certain amount of time worked. Its starting pay rates are well above the average for grocery retailers and the company has a stringent, third-party labeling system for its food called the Eco-Scale. This scale lets consumers know the degree to which a product meets Whole Foods’ standards in areas like animal testing, environmental-friendliness, resource usage in production etc. It goes beyond labeling requirements for foods that are organic, genetically modified, and produced in non-conventional ways. The company also limits its the pay of its executives to 19 times that of the average full time salary at the firm. The CEO currently receives a salary of $1 per year. Additionally, 5% of profits are donated to charity each year and the company touts itself as putting its stakeholders before anything else.
For my paper 2, I’d like to look at the practices of this company and how its commitment to sustainability has helped make it successful. Also, while there is many positive things about the company, it would be interesting to see if the claims it makes about its practices are 100% true and not misleading. Most of what I read about the company was in a smattering of news articles but this report from the Daniels Fund Ethics Institute of the University of New Mexico confirmed all the details and added more.