(Solution) UGB264 Business Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability (Ers)













Business ESR


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Task: UGB264 Business Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability (Ers)

 Using the specific theories, models and general understanding covered in the module; you will analyse the prevalent ethical, responsible and sustainable impacts being made by firms operating within the following industry during the last 5 years; identifying any global impacts.

  • The Retail Food Industry    

 Note: This assignment is entirely secondary information based and as such you are not required to conduct any primary research.

 To aid the development of your work, you should consider the following tasks below.

Your work must provide referenced organisational examples, drawn from the industry as a whole and specific firms within it to support your analysis. Discussion within your work should provide a good balance between the referenced theory(s) covered in the module and applied practice.

 Examine and discuss the key challenges relating to responsibility [both corporate and social]; affecting or created by firms in the industry.

    • To develop your response, offer researched evidence which identifies the predominant ethical view/s currently adopted by firms in the industry; include contemporary examples of the impact on and also actions of firms regarding their norms (procedures, processes), behaviours (actions) and values (cultural views).
  1. From your research in A, analyse and identify how firms within the industry are creating/addressing responsible corporate and social practices in comparison to their direct competitors.


  • from the information in points A and B, make recommendations for firms in the industry, of how their current/adopt culture could ensure future responsibility and also sustainable in relation to a wider, global consideration.
  • UGB264 Business Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability (Ers)



A Report on Responsibility and Sustainability issues in Retail Food Industry

1.0 Introduction

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is based on the notion that business organisation should behave in ethical and socially responsible manner towards their stakeholders including communities, employees, customers, governments, investors, media and supply chain members. Business ethics and corporate social responsibility have long tradition in the global business environment. The growth of these two phenomena in the past two decades was seen to have emerged as a result of perceived failures of governmental regulations following globalisation, privatization and reforms of the welfare state (Chkanikova and Mont, 2015). Additionally, given the increased competition, turbulent and uncertainties in today’s globalized economy, firms are being forced to look for new methods of creating and sustaining their competitive advantages. Ensuring business ethics and engaging in corporate social responsibility is able being viewed as a viable strategy for creating and sustaining competitive advantage particularly in light of a new consumption behaviour-green consumption (Frynas and Yamahaki, 2019). The focus of this paper is on CSR issues in retail food industry. it examines and discusses key CSR issues in the retail food industry using industry as a whole and specific firms as examples. It also uses use ethical theory to explain how firms are responding to the CSR issues in comparison to their t competitors. Lastly, this paper provides recommendations on how companies in the retail food industry can ensure future responsibility

2.0  CSR issues in retail food industry

2.1  Retailers’ power abuse

Within the retail food industry, CSR issues tend to arise from the retail food industry supply chain-starting from the bottom of the chain to the top of the chain (Fernie and Sparks, 2018). The figure below shows the schematic food supply chain of the retail food industry.

Figure 1: food supply chain of the retail food industry

Source: Fernie and Sparks (2018)

One of the major CSR issues created by retail food industry at the bottom of the supply chain is the power abuse by retailer. The power dependence theory of CSR asserts that majority of the suppliers including farmers and small food processors depend on customers who are the large retailers where the high power of the latter tend to control and influence the former (Sutton-Brady et al, 2017). Therefore, in light of such a power structure, suppliers tend to adjust to the requirements of their ‘customers’. Farmers and small food processes will therefore depend on the large retailers resulting to power abuse by retailers. As such, this type of power abuse has become an important issues arising in retail food industry.  In relation to this, Warner (2016) found that retail food sector is increasingly facing supply chain challenges related to the issue of ‘fair trade’. In 2015, Sainsbury was reported to be failing to support the prices of their suppliers an issues which has supplier failing to sustain business longevity which in turns leads to poverty among its Indian based suppliers. Loussaïef et al. (2014) argued that for a food product such as coffee, coffee beans in the UK are supplied from small growers in countries such as Kenya and the UK food retailers’ supply prices have pushed most of these growers into poverty. Additionally, in a country such as Australia, the issue of fair trade is prevalent where most of food retailers are introducing privately owned brands which are food products being packed using the food retailers own brand name. These products are usually cheaper compared to the alternatives. At the same time, the food retailers in Australia are pressuring farmers and processors to product and manufacture these products on a contract pack basis which is at a very low price and then incentivizing customers into purchasing the privately owned brands rather than the branded alternatives hence eroding the earning margins that suppliers including farmers and processers used to make (Sanders, 2018).

2.2 Environmental issues

According to Patten et al. (2014), environmental issues are the earliest and arguably the most commonly reported CSR agendas among the retail food sector. These environmental issues ranges from water consumption, waste disposal, energy consumptions, recycling, use of chemicals, volume of packaging, raw material usage and genetically modified food among others. A report by the Guardian (2018) indicated that in the UK, 11 million tons of food is wasted per years which occur throughout the food sector supply chain. Whilst the majority of the food wastage occur at the consumption level, recent governmental reports has revealed that food retailers are increasingly playing a major role in food wastage. Precisely, food promotions and advertisements enticing customers to purchase more food than they need have resulted to wastage. There is also wastage resulting from food not meeting the minimum standards. In fact, Kibler et al. (2018) found that in Europe alone, production losses in early supply chain stages represented upto 20% of all food waste. At the same time, CO2 emission from retail food sector particularly in food processing and distribution has been projected to have reached nearly a million tons. This emission comes from four key areas……………………………..

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