Preparing for the Future - the Code for Organic Retailing Practice
Institute equalita has carried out from September 2014 up to August 2016 the project "Preparing for the Future" in the context of the EU program Erasmus+.
The aim was the development of a European "Code of Good Practice Organic Retailing" and of the e-learning course "Ecoretail" for the qualification of managers and employees in organic and conventional trade to support the integration of this code and its principles into everyday business practice.
Facing all the problems caused by globalization, financial crises and economical and social deregulations ethical basics for business become more and more important. The organic trade branch recognized that organic regulations and certificate alone is not enough to assure the authenticity of organic products and business. With the fast growing of the organic sector more and more profiteers are entering the business which can compromise the whole branch. This insight was the cause for discussing and developing principles on other aspects of authenticity and integrity for the business and its stakeholders.
Important stakeholders of the organic trade branch had started to develop and promote a "Code of Good Organic Retail Practice" to establish 8 principles in business and staff contexts:
- Social Aspects,
- Involvement in the Organic Sector,
- Product Quality,
- Sustainability in the Shop,
- Sustainable Relationships,
- Open Communication, and
- Quality Management.
This project was based on former activities and the Leonardo da Vinci Partnership Project "Concept of Code of Good Organic Retailing Practice" carried out from 2011 to 2013. Institutions and enterprises of the organic trade branch from five European countries developed a first draft of a European "Code of Good Organic Retailing Practice" and a regarding training concept for manager and staff. This work was based on a research and survey about already existing elements of ethical principles in training and daily practice in organic retail business in the partner countries and EU.
This Transnational Strategic Partnership aimed to develop a European "Code of Good Organic Retailing Practice", and to create and provide the e-learning course and platform "Ecoretail" for the integration of this "Code" and its principles in the training of manager and staff of organic retail for use in daily business practice. Another objective is the transfer and propagation of principles and staff training in the non-organic sector and conventional business. "Preparing for the future" means in this context to provide an innovative approach and EQF compatible learning offer for the integration of ethical principles in the daily practice of organic and conventional retail.
The main important actor and carrier for ethical principles is the staff of the organic business. The shop manager and the personal are the key factors for the implementation of ethical principles in daily practice. That concerns decisions about and handling of economical, environmental and social business aspects as well as the relationship and communication with clients, business partners and amongst staff. Therefore a successful implementation of a "Code of Good Organic Practice" requires a concept for involving manager and personal in the daily realization of these principles.
However is not only the organic business affected by critical views of consumer, staff, business partners and the public regarding their authenticity and integrity. Also and maybe even more so, it is the "conventional" business sector which is struggling with developing an overall ethical code of conduct. Therefore also in this sector the idea of ethical principles for business becomes more and more relevant and regarding activities are increasing.
The target groups are representatives and managers in organic retail sector, staff in organic retail sector, institutions of adult education, trainers/Instructors and teacher trainers, decision-makers in public administration and human resource managers in organic and conventional retail branch. They will profit from the activities and offers based on the projects results by adequate training offers, a higher quality of skills, knowledge and competences of the retailers staff as well as improved ethical image of the whole business sector.
A training tool to cover all relevant aspects of ethical retail practice will help the staff and manager to meet the coming requirements of the EU and assist in introducing a comprehensive approach towards retailing ethics in daily business practice. In this sector the idea of ethical principles for business becomes more and more relevant and activities in this area are increasing.
The partnership consisted of nine institutions from six countries. Coordinator of the project was Institut equalita. Partners were the University of Agribusiness and Rural Development in Bugaria, the Turkish Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Zivy venkov from Czech Republic, the Agency for good communication GmbH (kggk) in Cologne, the University for applied Science Hamburg, both from Germany, the Dutch association Stichting Bionext, the French research and consultancy institute Ecozept and the Institute for sutainable Development from Slovenia.
The results and Intellectual Outputs of the project is the European concept of the "Code of Good Organic Retailing Practice", a curriculum with Learning Outcomes for training on the "Code" defined according to EQF and NQF requirements, the English pilot e-learning course "Ecoretail" and 7 adapted and translated national versions for all partner countries.
More information and the results you will find at the project homepage.