At FairPrice, sustainability is in its DNA

Lee U-Wen Business Times 23 Sep 16;

NTUC FairPrice, the largest supermarket chain in Singapore, on Thursday published its first sustainability report, which covers data and activities at all its 130 outlets and warehouse and logistics operations for the 2015 calendar year.

The 37-page document was released as part of a campaign by the co-operative to promote awareness on sustainability, environmental protection and volunteerism.

The report, which will be published annually, is "another milestone" in FairPrice's ongoing corporate social responsibility journey, said chief executive officer Seah Kian Peng.

"It affirms our commitment to ensure that through a determined focus on sustainability, we can continue to be a responsible and respected social enterprise recognised for 'doing well and doing good'," he said.

The report was developed based on the Global Reporting Initiative core guidelines, which is an internationally recognised standard on sustainability reporting.

Among FairPrice's achievements in 2015 was how it continues to stock over 5,000 products that are made in Singapore.

The organisation also invested S$1.1 million last year to support 270 small and medium-sized enterprises through a programme that sees local firms get help in managing their cash flow, and receive support to increase the awareness and sales of local products.

As for food safety, FairPrice has, since 2008, achieved the "Grade A" status by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore for excellence in food hygiene, sanitation and processing.

In terms of giving back to the community, FairPrice reported that more than S$98 million has been donated to the FairPrice Foundation to date since 2008. The target is to commit another S$50 million to the foundation by 2020.

The FairPrice Food Voucher Scheme has also received over S$13.2 million since 2002, while S$2.6 million was raised in 2015 for the NTUC-U Care Fund. FairPrice also donated S$80,000 worth of rice to low-income families.

FairPrice said in the report that it wants to extend its volunteering programme beyond employees to partners and customers.

As part of its community engagement campaign, there is an open invitation for the public to volunteer for charitable causes together with FairPrice staff, with the aim of achieving a total of 5,500 volunteer hours in 2016.

The supermarket giant is also looking to save 11 million plastic bags this year through its bring-your-own-bag initiative, called the FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme.

This would beat the 2015 figure of 10.1 million by about 10 per cent. The scheme rewards customers with a 10-cent rebate when they bring their own bags with a minimum spend of S$10.

The full sustainability report can be viewed at www.csr.fairprice.com.sg. An abridged version will be given to customers who either sign up for the volunteer programme, take part in the bring-your-own-bag initiative or complete an online quiz on the report.

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