Strategy

The key takeaways from NRF’s purpose-driven retail panel

Conscious capitalism isn’t just ‘Kumbaya.’ [It’s] ‘Let’s make a profit, and let’s do something good for your people, the community in the causes that you are concerned with,’” Chobani’s Mark Broadhurst said.
article cover

National Retail Federation/Jason Dixson

· 3 min read

This Sunday saw the commencement of NRF, one of the year’s biggest retail conferences, held annually at the Javits Center in New York City.

On the menu were several keynote addresses, including by Macy’s chair and CEO and Saks Off 5th’s CEO and president.

Another important session that took place early Sunday morning—and happened to be moderated by Retail Brew—focused on conscious capitalism and what it means to be a purpose-driven company.

On the panel were top executives from Chobani, Hollister Co., and Nordstrom, each discussing their approach to purpose. From pioneering schemes to aid food access to children and refugees to empowering teens to be business leaders of tomorrow and providing underprivileged kids with a set of shoes, the discussion was wide-ranging.

But don’t worry; ICYMI, we have compiled some of the key takeaways from the session below:

Mark Broadhurst, SVP of communications and impact at Chobani

Looking back at Chobani’s food-access program that helps both children and refugees, Broadhurst told us it wasn’t a question of why the brand was doing it, but “why aren’t we doing more,” he said. “It really starts with the products, you’ve got to have a quality product, and it’s got to sell. That’s at the root of conscious capitalism. So conscious capitalism isn’t just ‘Kumbaya.’ Conscious capitalism is ‘Let’s make a profit, and let’s do something good for your people, the community in the causes that you are concerned with.”

Jacee Scoular, senior director of brand marketing strategy at Hollister Co.

Scoular spoke of Hollister’s brand agent program targeted at empowering high-school teens with an entrepreneurial spirit, providing them with the right resources and, of course, the money to finance their work.

Stay up to date on the retail industry

All the news and insights retail pros need to know, all in one newsletter. Join over 180,000 retail professionals by subscribing today.

“When we first started, we were like, ‘Please apply everyone,’ and today, we’re sifting through thousands of applications—all rooted in the idea that these teens have big ideas and big dreams, and achieving those dreams is incredibly stressful to them on top of their already really stressful lives,” she explained. “We can bring them in and pitch them to brands, and they let people know that Hollister is doing this amazing thing for them, turning around that content for us. So doing the right thing really is that full-circle, mutually beneficial situation.”

Gigi Ganatra, VP of corporate affairs at Nordstrom

Ganatra spoke of the process of developing Nordstrom’s socially conscious initiatives, including giving away shoes to kids who need them and creating programs to eliminate single-use plastic within beauty.

“So many of the programs are developed because of the data because of what we’re hearing from our customers, and that’s really key,” she said. “If you’re listening, and you’re open minded to understand where you make mistakes, and also that you’re transparent with your mistakes—that’s something that we’re doing a ton of today, particularly with supply chain. I think that’s a key piece to what our customers are looking at. They want to know: Where did this product come from? How is it made? Are you looking at your supply chain? Are you looking at the practices and the manufacturing plants that you work with?”—JS

Stay up to date on the retail industry

All the news and insights retail pros need to know, all in one newsletter. Join over 180,000 retail professionals by subscribing today.