Is Costco A Socially Responsible Company?

Many people today hope to work with, buy from, and support companies that are socially responsible, which often implies they take steps to reduce their environmental impact and are good stewards within their community and to employees. Learning how accountable a company is could help you decide where to shop or work. According to Investopedia, a socially responsible company works to support communities through its policies and operations while engaging in ethical labor practices and sustainable efforts to reduce its negative impact on the environment.

That said, Costco has 839 warehouses worldwide with 118.9 million cardholder members and 304,000 full and part-time employees as of September 2022 and is no small company. As a result, its actions in areas such as supply chains and product choices impact the planet in many ways. The organization is noted for its bulk home products and 100% satisfaction guarantee, but do its actions support a socially responsible business model? Here's what you should know about Costco's efforts.

Fair treatment of employees

One of the ways Costco is recognized as a socially responsible company is in the way it treats employees. According to Ethics Unwrapped, the retailer puts a high value on its employees and works to encourage them to do what's right and to maintain their health and positive self-esteem. In addition, the warehouse club has been notable across the U.S. in its effort to provide employees with a higher wage than competitors recognizing that building a loyal workforce fosters success for the business.

The company typically offers better retirement and health benefits than some of its competitors and provides ample training to its employees, which also contributes to better working environments for its staff. Another notable difference is that Costco encourages its workers to solve problems as needed rather than providing a strict protocol without much leniency. Finally, it's important to note that the retailer's average customer is more affluent, and the company has far fewer products than competitors like Target and Walmart, which could make working there a bit easier.

Environmental stewardship

When it comes to protecting the environment, Costco states it is working towards a net positive impact for the communities it serves. It has numerous paths to achieving this, such as protecting the number of natural forests and valuable ecosystems that are vital to the planet's health. Its goals include working to conserve those ecosystems, restoring any possible, and supporting indigenous people. Its efforts also include protecting natural water resources by reducing the use of chemicals.

Some of the company's efforts focus on eliminating commodities from their Kirkland Signature brand of products considered worrisome for deforestation, such as only using palm oil, wood, pulp, and paper products responsibly sourced. It does the same for soy, beef, and cocoa resources, as well as seafood (via SeafoodSource).

In addition, Costco states it is working to support sustainability within its communities, including operating and merchandising in a way that's better for the planet. It has comprehensive sustainability governance and education plan that includes a 10-point action plan focused on reducing inequalities, taking climate action, maintaining clean water, and protecting life both below water and on land. This may all contribute to a reason to continue your Costco membership.