About the Scorecard
Seward Co-op’s Scorecard was created in 2006 to share the effects of our business in numerous areas. The Scorecard’s creation was a staff-led process, and the writing of it gave several staff the opportunity to develop language defining the co-op’s success. The data points included demonstrate Seward Co-op’s progress in achieving its mission, or Ends Statement.
The Seward Co-op Ends Statement gives clear definition of our purpose and demands that the co-op's success be measured against the health of our community. It reads:
Seward Co-op will sustain a healthy community that has:
- equitable economic relationships*;
- positive environmental impacts; and
- inclusive, socially responsible practices.
Two of the Scorecard’s goals are to provide a source of direction towards meeting the Ends and to increase alignment throughout the co-op, from co-op owners to the Board of Directors to the General Manager to the staff.
When Scorecard data is collected, we essentially are reviewing the co-op’s operations. One sees the Scorecard “in action” when observing the improvements and policy changes that are periodically made at the co-op. The Scorecard is a living document, a dynamic measuring tool that will change over time. We are excited to continue using the Scorecard to demonstrate the co-op’s values as our business contributes to a healthier and more sustainable community.
* Of particular note in this year’s Scorecard data is fair trade sales (see page 8). The $2 million in co-op wide “fairly traded product” sales includes some brands that no longer use third-party fair trade certification. This is due to deep controversies in the fair trade movement that have been simmering over the past 10–15 years. Many advocates for fair trade have questioned and criticized a number of certifiers, claiming they have chipped away at authentic fair trade principles and values. In recent years, certifiers have changed criteria in order to open up their programs to large-scale farms and plantations.
Because of this, four of our long-time coffee suppliers (Peace Coffee, Equal Exchange, Kickapoo Coffee and Just Coffee) decided to stop participating in third-party certification. Their product no longer bears a fair trade-certified seal. Seward Co-op staff has nurtured relationships and trust with these coffee suppliers. We believe they maintain the highest standards when it comes to treatment of the environment, treatment of workers and cooperative principles. To best capture and reflect the true spirit of fair trade, Seward Co-op continues to consider these brands fair trade.