Shortly before personally launching the recent update to Sainsbury’s ambitious 20x20 sustainability targets chief executive Justin King spoke to Ethical Corporation

In the two years since Sainsbury’s launched its 20x20 sustainability plan, the UK retail sector has had to deal with the horsemeat scandal and come to terms with ever-more engaged and informed consumers, armed with Twitter accounts. How much progress has the UK’s second largest retailer made in those two years, and what are the highlights of the 20x20 plan’s latest update? We ask the man at the top.

Ethical Corporation: Recently there seems to have been a continuous catalogue of scandals affecting the food retail sector. Do you feel you always have to be on your guard?

Justin King: It’s never been any different. Social media means things happen more quickly now. But we can react more quickly too – and we are kept in touch with customers better. A few years ago we’d hear about a developing problem once we’d had a few letters about it. But now people can react to a Twitter feed, and we can respond and solve the problem.

EC: Having customers with Twitter accounts must have radically changed your communications strategy. How do you keep up?

JK: We had a coffee machine blow up in a store – from a manufacturing error. I happened to be...

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2020 sustainability plan  CEO interview  Management spotlight  Sainsbury's 

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