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Case Studies


Nike: Caring About Supplier Relationships

Fifteen years ago, Nike underwent intense scrutiny and brutal attacks for its global supply chain management policies and priorities. People across the world were burning Nike shoes instead of wearing them; customers were boycotting Nike products; and in 1998 the company’s earnings dropped by 69%.


So, what began fifteen years ago as Nike’s horror show of globalization has evolved today into the inspirational story of its transformation to a sustainable global enterprise. Nike is passionately committed to “build a sustainable business and create value for Nike and [its] stakeholders,” and not just its shareholders. Sustainability is no longer about risk management for Nike; it is about growth. Leaders and employees of the company recognize the interconnection between sustainability, brand enhancement, capital efficiency and profitability — Nike’s growth strategies are built on these four pillars. CEO and President Mark Parker is also greatly committed to “decoupling” Nike’s “profitable growth from constrained resources”.

(Dr. Aarti Sharma , “Swoosh and Sustainability: Nike's Emergence as a Global Sustainable Brand”, May 17, 2013.)


Costco: Caring About Employees and Customers


Some Wall Street analysts assert that Mr. Sinegal is overly generous not only to Costco's customers but to its workers as well.

Costco's average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam's Club. And Costco's health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco "it's better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder".

Mr. Sinegal begs to differ. He rejects Wall Street's assumption that to succeed in discount retailing, companies must pay poorly and skimp on benefits, or must ratchet up prices to meet Wall Street's profit demands.


“Good wages and benefits are why Costco has extremely low rates of turnover and theft by employees", he said. And Costco's customers, who are more affluent than other warehouse store shoppers, stay loyal because they like that low prices do not come at the workers' expense. "This is not altruistic," he said. "This is good business".


CVS: Caring About Customers


CVS, the nation's second-largest pharmacy chain, said Wednesday it would stop selling all cigarettes and tobacco products nationwide by October, saying they have no place in a drugstore company that is trying to become more of a health-care provider. For CVS, the move will be costly. The drugstore chain estimates it will forgo $2 billion in annual revenue from tobacco and other sundries as a result. That hit on revenue will shave about six to nine cents a share off of operating earnings this year and about 17 cents annually from next year's earnings. (CVS to Stop Selling Cigarettes, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 5, 2014)


Southwest: Caring About Culture and Employees


On Sept. 12, 2001, there were no commercial flights in the United States. It was uncertain when airlines would be permitted to start flying again—or how many customers would be on them. Airlines faced not only the tragedy of 9/11 but the fact that the economy was entering a recession. So almost immediately, all the U.S. airlines, save one, did what so many U.S. corporations are particularly skilled at doing: they began announcing tens of thousands of layoffs. Today the one airline that didn't cut staff, Southwest, still has never had an involuntary layoff in its almost 40-year history. It's now the largest domestic U.S. airline and has a market capitalization bigger than all its domestic competitors combined. As its former head of human resources once told me: If people are your most important assets, why would you get rid of them? (Newsweek, 2/4/2010, “The Case Against Layoffs: They Often Backfire”)


Salesforce: Caring About Communities


“Defining a higher sense of purpose at Salesforce was very important to Marc Benioff, founder, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce. “Companies can do more than just make money, they can serve others,” says Benioff. "The business of business,” he continues, “is improving the state of the world."


Salesforce solidified its organizational purpose by instituting what it refers to as the 1-1-1 Model. The model utilizes Salesforce's technology, people, and resources to help improve communities around the world.


“When a new employee joins Salesforce, the 1-1-1 Model is the highlight of orientation. Once they receive their computer, company messages, and so on, Salesforce sends the new cohort of recruits into the community. On an employee’s very first day, they go out and spend time doing something useful as a volunteer. It is an example of the company’s intent to walk the talk of its higher purpose”. (Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Says The Business Of Business Is Improving The State Of The World, Dan Pontefract, Forbes, Jan 7, 2017.) - 4e7467907eb0


Home Depot: Helping Veterans, Trades Training, and Disaster Relief


From Home Depot’s corporate website

Responding to Natural Disasters

On August 24, 1992, The Home Depot had an awakening. It was the day Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida and whenwe learned that we were not only a retail store, but also a part of the infrastructure of communities to assist citizens, first responders and relief organizations when disasters strike.


During big storms, our merchandising, supply chain and operations teams work around the clock in a complex effort to move necessary product and equipment to stores caught in the path of hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires and other crippling events. Meanwhile, our human resources team, alongside The Homer Fund, activates to support associates in dangers way while our operations teams work to be the last stores to close and the first to reopen to help communities recOn August 24, 1992, The Home Depot had an awakening. It was the day Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida and when over.


In 2019 alone the Foundation committed more than $3.4 million to disaster response in areas impacted by fires, hurricanes and flooding.


Helping Veterans Aid

Because 35,000 of our own are veterans, The Home Depot Foundation understands the importance of honoring and serving those who have served us all.


Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $335 million in veteran causes and improved more than 47,000 veteran homes and facilities in 4,500 cities. In 2018, the Foundation pledged an additional $250 million to veteran causes taking the total commitment to half a billion by 2025. Together, we #CHOOSETOSERVE those who served us.

Trades Training

In partnership with the Home Building Institute (HBI), our Trades Training program aims to fill the trades gap in the fields of plumbing, carpentry, electrical engineering, and HVAC specialties, while also better preparing separating military veterans for their return to civilian life.


The Foundation has pledged a commitment to train 20,000 more tradespeople to fill the industry pipeline by 2028. To do this, the Foundation will invest $50 million dollars into non-profits that share our vision, in order to highlight the value that tradespeople provide to the economy and help replenish an industry that is currently not seeing growth. 

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