In 2021, PCC continued building our culture of learning, compassion and inclusion. We identified that our co-op was in the discovery phase of important JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) work, where we aimed to identify and address gaps in our practices.
To help us along our journey, we joined the JEDI Collaborative, a natural products industry initiative, so we can learn and do this work alongside others in our industry, build skills to better lead JEDI work, and build our action plan. We also began to focus on three pillars of work — culture, consumer and communities — through our JEDI Committee. We look at culture in connection with our staff, consumer with our shoppers and communities as the neighborhoods we serve.
CULTURE: STAFF GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
Last year, our all-staff education was focused on unconscious bias. We provided an eLearning that was completed by 1,553 of our staff that provided information about understanding unconscious bias in all forms, recognizing our own biases, and developing tools to create a more inclusive environment at PCC. We also engaged our office staff in a one-day Leading for Racial Equity Training to ensure they were aligned with our store leaders who went through the training in 2020. A total of 77 office staff completed this training that covered topics including cultivating a welcoming space for conversations about race, understanding how history impacts our racial reality, and creating systems to transform our organization to be more equitable.
In response to store manager feedback in the Leading for Racial Equity Training last year, we launched the Language Line (translation services) to assist staff who need to have a translator available for certain interactions and offered our trainings and resources in Spanish, Nepali, Tagalog, Cantonese and Tibetan.
PCC continued to expand our recruiting outreach efforts, examining barriers to equity in our hiring practices with the intention of broadening our reach to more communities and organizations. We updated the language in our interview questions, job descriptions and job promotion materials to be more accessible and inclusive.
Co-op leaders recognize the importance of embedding this work in all we do and that our priorities and action plan need to reflect the voices of our staff. In 2021, the JEDI Committee — in partnership with 27 store and office staff — began the work to create a staff JEDI survey.
CONSUMER: MEETING OUR MEMBERS & SHOPPERS
In 2021, PCC’s Merchandising team created a committee that was dedicated to advancing our JEDI practices specific to merchandising. This committee, consisting of nine merchandising staff, was focused on three areas of work: shifting culture on the Merchandising team by having facilitated conversations around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion; working with community on supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) vendors that are bringing products to market; and vendor onboarding and product evaluation.
PCC started to create systems and processes to track our BIPOC vendors. Last year, we identified 58 vendors in our database representing 195 individual units of product. We have also started the process of creating signage for these products so that our customers can easily identify them.
We also recognized the importance of gaining an understanding of our BIPOC vendors’ experience in onboarding their products to PCC. To do so, a survey was created to collect this feedback, which will allow us to identify our blind spots and be able to address existing barriers.
COMMUNITY: OUTREACH + SUPPORT
PCC focused last year on continuing to build our community partnerships and improving our long-standing programs. We began this work by reexamining our giving programs through an equity lens, grounding our work in understanding our unconscious biases, and prioritizing historically marginalized communities in our outreach and decision-making. We started with looking at our grant programs that include our Community Grants focused on cultivating local, organic food systems, and our Diverse Entrepreneur Grant program that provides free capital to underrepresented small businesses in partnership with Seattle-based Ventures. We redesigned our application process and outreach efforts to be more accessible to a greater number of communities.
Prior to opening a new store, PCC meets with community leaders and neighborhood businesses to better understand the neighborhood and build relationships. This outreach informs our neighborhood giving and community programs that exist in each of our stores. In response to feedback and requests from community leaders that we received during our community outreach process prior to opening our store in the Central District, last year PCC formed and met with the Central District Community Advisory Committee. The purpose of this committee is to provide a space for community leaders and PCC leaders to come together to ensure that PCC continues to understand and reflect the needs and desires of the community.
ON THE HORIZON
PCC’s discovery work will continue into 2022, as our commitment to JEDI deepens. Some key highlights include:
- Culture: This year, we will issue a staff survey focused on the following key areas: inclusion; emotional, psychological and physical safety; advancement, training and support; and input on future priorities. The results from this survey will inform our priorities and action plan and build out key metrics for measuring our progress year-over-year.
- Consumer: In addition to building out our BIPOC database, we will continue the work focused on addressing results of the BIPOC vendor survey.
- Community: We are committed to building more equitable giving programs and deeper, more inclusive community relationships. We also are launching our new Community Classroom program that will provide access to our classroom spaces for neighborhood nonprofits. This is being developed in response to requests from community organizations.
Our JEDI work does not have an end date — it is a part of our ongoing operations. It begins with looking at our existing structures, systems and practices and we will continue to learn and adjust.