PCC Community Markets (PCC), the largest community-owned food market in the United States, has released its annual “Co-op Purposes Report,” which found that membership grew by 13% in 2021 to more than 102,000 members by year’s end. The report lays out the grocer’s progress on its goals in various areas.
“After a second full year of social, economic and environmental upheaval stemming from the global pandemic and persistent societal inequities, it is comforting to reflect on the common purpose that unites our co-op: PCC’s vision to inspire and advance the health and well-being of people, their communities and our planet,” noted Krish Srinivasan, PCC’s recently appointed CEO, in a letter at the beginning of the report. “I am deeply committed to transparency with our staff and members. Our ‘Co-op Purposes Report’ is one element of that work that is in service to our members, providing an overview of our collected mission-related work, accomplishments and impact in 2021.”
In keeping with PCC’s triple-bottom-line operating model that balances environmental, social and economic goals while reducing environmental impacts and giving back to its community, the report highlighted the following accomplishments and work in progress:
- In 2021, PCC provided 1.5 million meals to local neighborhoods, offered more than 9,000 local products in stores, achieved carbon-negative store operations, held in-person and virtual cooking classes for more than 7,000 students and provided 40 special offers worth more than $300 for each member, among other data points.
- With input from co-op members, community, vendors and partners, PCC created social and environmental operational goals to help boost the co-op’s sustainability impact in 2017. Each year since, the co-op has made progress on these goals, including work to lower its energy use, reduce water waste and carry new organic products.
- Continuing to build its culture of learning, compassion and inclusion, PCC began to focus on three pillars of work — culture, consumer and communities — through its JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Committee. Key accomplishments from 2021 include e-learning on unconscious bias completed by nearly all staff, the introduction of new approaches to the co-op’s product mix that address existing barriers to working with Black, Indigenous and people-of-color vendors and a redesign of its grant application process and outreach efforts to be more accessible to a greater number of communities.
- For the second year, PCC gave an update on its compensation philosophy and staffing organization. Along with a deep dive into the organizational structure and benefits overview, the co-op noted that more than half (53%) of its office staff started their careers at PCC stores, and that 90% of store management positions have been filled by promotions of internal candidates. Further, PCC found that while the average tenure of food service workers nationally has declined over the past two years to 1.9 years, the average tenure of unionized PCC store staff is 4.38 years – more than double the national average – while he average tenure of office and managerial staff at PCC is almost seven years.
The co-op also reported that in 2021, it gave more than 65% of its pre-tax earnings to members and the communities it serves. This includes the member dividend and support of such local nonprofits as Ventures, Washington Farmland Trust and FareStart.
Seattle-based PCC, a certified-organic retailer, has 16 stores in the Puget Sound-area cities of Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle. The Seattle stores are in the neighborhoods of Ballard, Central District, Columbia City, Downtown, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle. The co-op also plans to open a new store in Madison Valley.