This week, I was going to write a piece about leadership, but I saw the controversy happening in England with Tesco and it compelled me to write about the subject (even if this post runs the risk of seeming to be somewhat self-serving). Tesco is a multinational grocery and general merchandise store that was founded in Britain.
Last week, Tesco installed one-inch spikes outside of their store on Regent Street, similar to metal studs found outside of a luxury building near London Bridge. Tesco stated that these fixtures were to prevent “anti-social behavior” as opposed to something to prevent homeless people from sleeping outside of the store. Protesters, however, and people on social media were mostly railing against these spikes because they saw them as an inhumane effort to prevent the homeless from sleeping on sidewalks. Even the Mayor of London said they needed to be removed from London streets.
Tesco is a company that was founded in 1919 and it has a rich and long history in the UK. After Walmart, Tesco is the second-largest retailer in the world as it relates to both profits and revenue. And now, Philip Clarke, CEO, Tesco, has a major public relations nightmare on his hands with activists taking to Facebook in order to protest this ill-conceived effort by Tesco and others, whatever it was meant to do, in the coming days ahead.
Although I don’t have the logistics facilities for our Funds2Orgs program yet worked out in Europe at this point, because we do incredible international work and I know we can make things happen, I would like to extend an offer to Tesco via @Tesco and Philip Clarke to help them – and the homeless. I would like my company to work with Tesco to establish a logistical plan in order to raise money for the homeless in the UK through all of their stores. And, further, if Tesco chooses to work with us, and all of their promotion for the campaign is done via social media, they will not have any cost for our program.
I envision Tesco embarking on a major campaign to help and support the homeless, through partnerships with charities that serve and help the homeless. With our help, we can start an incredible effort in London where all members of the general public can help and support the cause – without having to donate £1. The currency to help the homeless would not be cash or credit, but rather shoes, sneakers, purses and apparel. We can collect all of this at Tesco locations from the people and customers who have a surplus of these items – all in support of the homeless.
I read a study done in the United Kingdom that stated women typically own 20 pairs of shoes and only wear 5. Do the math, but knowing that women are the primary decision makers in shopping and their households, it stands to reason that women in London and their families would have a lot of shoes to donate to the Tesco locations for homeless charities in the UK, were we partnering.
Once the campaign ended, Funds2Orgs would then pay the designated charity in Great British Pounds for the good work they are doing in partnership with Tesco. And, in turn, all of the shoes, sneakers, purses and apparel collected would be repurposed. This has two benefits: 1) it keeps all of these items from turning into waste in landfills; and, 2) the gently used items are distributed to support and sustain micro-businesses by impoverished entrepreneurs in developing nations, such as Haiti and parts of Africa.
So, not only will Tesco have an opportunity to demonstrate to its customers and the general public that it is a good corporate citizen, and not only will its customers and the broader general public be able to have an innovative way to support homeless charities in the UK with gently used personal items, but Tesco and the public will also be able to help conserve the environment and also help micro-enterprises by entrepreneurs who are working to find a way out of poverty in developing countries.
Mr. Clarke, I am up for the challenge. And, if you are too, please reach out to me.