One Step Further – Taking Change from the Supply Chain to Consumers

The Easter long weekend not only gave us the freedom and will to “all you can sleep”, it is one true chocolate feast for younger children, who enthusiastically invest their energy to complete the Scavenger Egg Hunt. UK based multinational grocer Tesco decides to take two small steps to alleviate the negative effect of the sugar rush.  In their promotional video, the tag line “Every Little Helps” aligns well with the company’s purpose to treat the customers “a little better every day”. This time, they have added the green and sustainability feature as part of a deliverable.

The two distinctive actions are: sourcing 100% of its cocoa from programs that promote responsible cocoa when producing their own brand Easter Eggs, and patterning with LEGO to launch “Easter limited edition toy”. The interpretation regarding these moves appears to show the company’s opportunistic, short-tern objective, rather than being dedicated and committed. Nevertheless, this is a reality with most for-profit organization, where tying their brand with sustainability can potentially be strategic, while following through the action requires second thoughts. Under most of the situations, the short run profitability sets a foundation for long term adoption and implementation of the program as these pilot programs intends to test the water.

I found the idea of responsibly sourced coffee interesting, because I think most of the explicit value of this concept lies within taglines and advertisement, rather than quantifying the reduction in environmental impact measured with certain scale or standard (carbon emission, carbon footprint, waste reduction, quality increase etc.). Tesco also chooses its own product lines to promote this new initiative. This allows them to achieve media headlines and further build their brand image, but also allows for production cost control. As a multinational grocery, Tesco also carries more well know products, such as Hershey’s Kisses, Kit Kat and Kinder Eggs. As what we have seen in London Drugs and Safeway, when a homogeneous product is branded under the store’s name, they are offered at a relatively lower price compared to the product imported from its fosterer (ex. Safeway Coke and Coca Cola’s Coke). We may see this as a way for Tesco to ask for a price premium, to compensate the opportunity and tangible cost engaged in the process in order to have a more satisfactory profit margin.

When thinking more positively, this could be viewed as one of the first steps that multinational groceries intend to begin a new venture. After all, the Earth is what ultimately gives us what we eat and drink and many more. Cocoa may appears to be a smaller area when we look at other more essential food elements; however, it sets smaller starting points so that business and consumers can contribute a little every day.


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