Q: How does Kum & Go approach corporate social responsibility?
Whether it’s corporate social responsibility or referred to by the trendy acronym ‘CSR’ or lumped together with ‘ESG,’ the business world is flush with titles for ‘trying to do the right thing.’ Whether a company has four stores or 4,000 stores, they have an impact on their community.
The concept of corporate social responsibility is one that we take literally at Kum & Go. Social responsibility. As in, we have a responsibility to our society—not just our shareholders. Thus, all our CSR ambitions stretch beyond a competitive financial payback and into territories that are truly about being a good corporate citizen. At Kum & Go, we embrace this role in society and have just finished our first-ever Kum & Go CSR 2030 Vision plan.
As you will see in our recently released 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, we capture a multitude of practices across our business. Yet when we set our sights on how we can leverage our organization for the betterment of others, we are focused on decisions that otherwise wouldn’t happen if we weren’t conscious about our overall impact on the world.
In developing Kum & Go’s CSR 2030 Vision, we started with two major influences: the direction from our parent company and the voice of our associates. As the largest of 11 operating companies owned by Krause Group, we closely coordinate our efforts with the ownership’s goals to ensure we can effectuate the social progress they hope to achieve. Krause Group breaks CSR into four pillars: Purpose, People, Philanthropy and Planet. Within each pillar, we had freedom to choose how we would make an impact.
Second, we conducted a companywide associate survey with the main purpose of learning what CSR activities would make our associates most proud to work for Kum & Go. Key takeaways include: ‘We’d like to see more philanthropy in my community,’ and, ‘please help us stop throwing so much stuff in the dumpster,’ as well as, ‘financial education is incredibly important to me.’
Next, the Kum & Go senior team will publish our first-ever roadmap for our CSR activities. Our team brings an exciting intrinsic passion for doing the right thing as a business, and now we can move forward with confidence that our actions in this space will deepen engagement with our store associates and ownership. In 2023, we will empower each CSR Pillar Lead to create the strategy to successfully bring our vision to life by the end of the decade.
Like anything, success in this space will largely be driven by the resources we put behind it. It’s been said the scarcest resource in a business is senior management’s time and attention, so we will hold ourselves publicly accountable to our progress. We’ve also seen a tremendous step forward in progress where we’ve added headcount and expertise to the work. Kum & Go now has dedicated associates focused on philanthropy, DEI, sustainability, energy, associate wellbeing and more.
Ultimately, as we step back from the fun chaos that is retail operations and observe the increasing number of natural disasters, the ongoing inequities for minority groups, the floating barges of garbage polluting our water or any other negative side effect from the commercial boom of the last hundred years, we at Kum & Go recognize that businesses are incredibly influential in shaping the quality of life both today and for decades to come.
There’s a lot of opportunity to do good and to do better in this world. No single entity can tackle it all. Yet if we all can lean in, set goals and make progress, we can be in a place where we’ve accomplished more than just budgets and bonuses. We can accomplish healthier people and a healthier planet.