Ahold Touts Corporate Social Responsibility Measures

At Ahold's annual shareholders meeting, c.e.o. John Rishton, addressing the meeting in his new role for the first time, discussed how the company had dialed up its corporate social responsibility measures in 2007, and what it would be doing in this regard going forward.

"In 2007, we made CSR a key element of our global strategy," noted Rishton at the meeting. "We believe CSR is essential to the longer-term success -- even survival -- of the business."

According to Rishton, during last year the retail conglomerate organized its efforts into four main areas: Healthy Living, Sustainable Trade, Climate Action, and Community Engagement.

"These areas are important to our stakeholders, and are where we can make the greatest contribution," explained Rishton, adding, "All of our operating companies have Corporate Social Responsibility programs underway in each of these areas."

In response to shareholder requests, Ahold will now publish a CSR report annually, at the same time as its annual report, Rishton said. The 2007 CSR report came out last month.

Despite such strides, however, he admitted there was room for improvement. "Though we have many activities underway, we still have much to learn and much to do, especially in complex areas such as climate action," he noted. "We are participating enthusiastically with industry bodies and others to seek solutions and make improvements to the way we are tackling these issues. We are also in the process of setting clear targets within our own business."
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