Our Current Stories on Supporting our Communities
Global Social Development
Giving Workers a Voice through Food
Food influences our daily lives, from our physical and mental well-being to our relationships with others. In the communities where Nordstrom products are manufactured, food from factory canteens also has an important business impact.
Migrant laborers typically travel long distances to industrial centers for work, and factory canteens are often their main source for food. In many cases, the food at a factory's canteen is prepared according to local tastes. This means workers often encounter very different ingredients and spices from those they eat at home. These differences can have a profound impact on the workers' morale and productivity while they're on the factory floor, and can even lead to worker turnover.
Through Canteen Project, a partnership with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), Nordstrom is helping workers at three factories in China's Guangdong Province gain a stronger voice when it comes to their meals. Canteen Project's goal is to ensure that workers are better educated about healthy, nutritious options and are involved in the selection of food-service providers, pricing and menu offerings.
Nordstrom and BSR are using the results of a BSR-conducted needs assessment to learn more about what influences workers' satisfaction with canteens. We are using our findings to help address those needs while expanding worker participation in the day-to-day management of the factory.
The Canteen Project focuses on empowering workers to be a part of a more open communication model and is introducing a number of tools that will allow workers to share their concerns more easily with their managers. It is a committee system in which workers can present their interests as part of a large, diverse workforce, and this enables a quick management response. The project also uses a peer education model in which workers are trained as educators to share knowledge about the Canteen Project and other issues with their coworkers.
Tackling challenges together
While the initial focus is on ensuring the canteen meets the needs of workers, these tools can also enable factory management to tackle a variety of similar challenges. They create more direct lines to decision makers and can be useful in identifying simple fixes that make the factory work floor more comfortable and productive, like better lighting, ventilation and line set-up. Additionally, tools like the peer education model can be used to spread important knowledge efficiently, such as disease prevention basics and information about local health resources.
"We know that many worker complaints relate in some way to the factory's canteen," said Anthony Curtis, social responsibility program manager for Nordstrom Product Group, which oversees Nordstrom private label production. "With Canteen Project, we hope to give workers what they need to be healthy, happy, and productive, while highlighting the impact food can have on operations for management. We are pleased to be facilitating better communication about needs in a structured, sustainable way."
Canteen Project was launched in 2010 and will continue throughout 2011.
Beating the Bridge to Beat Diabetes
As many as 3 million Americans are living with Type 1 diabetes. At Seattle's Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes event, participants aren't only 'racing' to beat the University Bridge before it's raised during the event. They are also 'racing' to help find a cure for diabetes.Read More
Our Restaurants: Local, Healthy & Eco-Friendly
Looking for a restaurant that features both fresh, healthful ingredients and environmentally-friendly practices? You don't have to
look too far. Read More
Higg Index to Measure Sustainability
Nordstrom is part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a group of apparel and footwear industry leaders, who have come together to create the Higg Index – a new tool for measuring product sustainability.Read More
Making Good Use of Waste
The Nordstrom team at our Fulfillment Center processes thousands of customer orders each day. They also generate a lot of waste, which has a big impact on
the environment.Read More
Saving Energy Reaps Rewards
Customers who visit the Nordstrom Tacoma Mall store might notice a cling on the door as they enter the store that says "This building is an Energy Star building."Read More
Biggest Loser Is a Winner
How much weight can you lose in 13 weeks? That was the challenge presented to employees at our Southern California
distribution center.Read More