How has a commitment to corporate values contributed to Whole Foods’ success

Whole Foods has strived not only to be a profitable company but to maintain an ethical standpoint
when making decisions related to its customers, employees, and all affected stakeholders. While
consistently being ranked as one of the World’s Most Ethical companies and best companies to
work for, Whole Foods has demonstrated its commitment toward selling organic food, satisfying
customers, and incorporating quality and sustainability into its products. All products are examined
and evaluated to inform customers of every element of their purchase to ensure that quality and
consumer standards are met.
The company has continually demonstrated its commitment to the environment by implementing
the Eco-ScaleRating System, aggressively promoting the use of renewable shopping bags, and
beginning to obtain LEED certification for some of its stores. Whole Foods strives to make a
beneficial impact within each community in which it is located by adopting a stakeholder
orientation. These actions have contributed to Whole Foods’ current status as one of the top natural
grocers throughout the United States.
However, as Whole Foods expands, it has faced many ethical challenges, some of which will likely
continue into the future. As it expands, it must anticipate the reactions from community members
and attempt to alleviate any concerns. It should also carefully examine its expansions and
acquisitions to ensure that pursuing these ventures will not run afoul of regulatory authorities, as it
experienced with its unprofitable acquisition of Wild Oats. Finally, Whole Foods must continue to
take a stakeholder orientation toward all stakeholders—even its competitors. It is important for the
firm to realize that just because an action might not be illegal does not mean that it is necessarily
Although Whole Foods has experienced some negative backlash, overall the company has
developed a strong positive reputation among its stakeholders. As a desire for green product
options and the concern for corporate social responsibility continue to increase among
stakeholders, Whole Foods’ careful attention to stakeholder needs and its strong commitment to its
core values provide it with a significant competitive advantage.
1. How has a commitment to corporate values contributed to Whole Foods’ success?
2. Describe how Whole Foods’ adoption of a stakeholder orientation has influenced the way it

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Cathy, CS.