Ahold's Sustainability Initiatives

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG055
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : -
Pub. Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : -
Industry : Retail
Countries : Netherlands

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Why Sustainability?

Some analysts felt that Ahold's sustainability initiatives were not merely rooted in concern for the environment but were also a reaction to market demand (Refer Exhibit V for the growing importance of sustainability).

Ahold's Stop & Shop supermarkets in the Northeast region of USA competed against Shaw's Supermarkets, which already were offering Fair Trade merchandise.

They further explained that Ahold had realized that it couldn't compete with Wal-Mart on the price plank; therefore it embraced sustainability. Market observers felt that Ahold was using the concept of sustainability to project an image of a responsible retailer and thus to differentiate it from other retailers. But they pointed out that sustainable retailing was being adopted by other retailers as well (Refer Exhibit VI for Wal-Mart's Sustainability Initiatives) and so Ahold was in the danger of losing its differentiability.

However, according to Ahold, sustainability was not a marketing gimmick but a philosophy which it had adopted to make a positive impact on its immediate environment and give its customers healthy options.

"We want our consumers to have choices," said Tom Smith, Vice President, Ahold.

Experts were of the view that Ahold's sustainability initiatives reflected the popular opinion of customers, legislators, and NGOs.

More and more people subscribed to the opinion that sustainability was the only way forward.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) conducted the seventh European Consumer Day on March 15, 2005, at its headquarters in Brussels.

Participants, who included thinkers, legislators and representatives of several European institutions, deliberated on 'sustainable consumption'...


Exhibit I: Ahold's Financials: Dutch GAAP
Exhibit II: Ahold's Divestment Spree
Exhibit III: UTZ Kapeh Standards
Exhibit IV: Eco-Sound Logo
Exhibit V: The Growing Importance of Sustainability
Exhibit VI: Wal-Mart's Sustainability Initiatives


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