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Costco Wholesale Corporation

Sustainability Commitment

“This Sustainability Commitment includes our updates for Fiscal Year 2021. We continue to make progress on many of our sustainability commitments and goals, including those related to our Climate Action Plan and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. We thank our employees, suppliers, members and the communities where we operate for their continuing support as we work together to address these commitments and goals.”
— Craig Jelinek, President and CEO


Overview

Our aim is that our business remains responsible, resilient and relevant in accordance with our Mission Statement and Code of Ethics.
Code of Ethics
  • Obey the law
  • Take care of our members
  • Take care of our employees
  • Respect our suppliers
  • Reward our shareholders
Mission Statement
To continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices.

These inform and guide our everyday goal to do the right thing and are the foundation of our business. Costco will continue to adapt as we learn more about our impact and global challenges such as climate change, human rights issues, and compromised natural resources.


Sustainability to us is remaining a profitable business while doing the right thing. We have adopted the following principles and responsibilities to help us navigate a dynamic and changing future, while still striving to do the right thing and remain a low-cost and efficient business operator.
Our Sustainability Principles
  • For Costco to thrive, the world needs to thrive. We are committed to doing our part to help.
  • We focus on issues related to our business and where we can contribute to real, results-driven positive impact.
  • We do not have all of the answers, are learning as we go and seek continuous improvement.
Our Sustainability Responsibilities
  • Take care of our employees.
  • Support the communities where our employees and members live and work.
  • Operate efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner.
  • Strategically source our merchandise in a sustainable manner.

SUSTAINABILITY GOVERNANCE & EDUCATION

Sustainability is important to all levels of our company, and we are working together toward our goals and progress on our initiatives. Examples include:
  • Regular reporting to our Board of Directors and to the Nominating and Governance Committee, which is the committee with primary oversight of sustainability goals and progress
  • Monthly reporting to our global executive team
  • Our Vice President of Global Sustainability and Compliance reports directly to our CEO and chairs our newly formed Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Executive Advisory Committee. The Committee is made up of cross-functional leadership and helps manage the integration of our sustainability policies into our business
  • The Board approved a new Executive Bonus Plan, which includes quantitative performance metrics concerning diversity equity and inclusion, resource consumption, and other emissions and environmental-related areas, and contemplated that emissions reductions will be a qualitative factor in discretionary environmental and social bonuses. The Nominating and Governance Committee and the Compensation Committee will jointly oversee this element of the Plan.
  • We keep our members and employees informed of our efforts through articles in the monthly publication for members, Costco Connection, and additional articles for our employees in Costco Today
  • We provide training and educational opportunities for our employees and suppliers throughout the year, many of which are discussed throughout this Sustainability Commitment
  • We provide policies and guidelines to our employees and suppliers as well as additional job aids and operational procedures to help our employees comply with our policies and programs

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs)

In FY2021 and in accordance with Point No. 1 of our 10-point Climate Action Plan, we assessed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to prioritize our Climate Action Plan in relation to our business model. The SDGs are 17 globally accepted 2030 goals, with 169 targets that balance economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

Following standards set by the UN Global Compact for SDG Disclosure, we conducted a materiality assessment, with assistance from an outside third party, to prioritize what makes sense for our business. The assessment included:

  • Undertaking preliminary scenario planning exercises
  • Performing risk and opportunity assessments of operations and merchandising
  • Incorporating our Code of Ethics and what “doing the right thing” means to us
  • Emphasizing the importance of mapping and tracing our value chains, to learn what is actually happening on the ground and to help us help make actual positive change
  • Integrating our Forest Conservation Commitment and our key commodities
  • Benchmarking against peers for industry alignment – we are comprehensive relative to our peers

We have identified the following SDGs as our priorities:

  • Clean Water and Sanitation (6)
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (8)
  • Reduced Inequalities (10)
  • Responsible Consumption and Production (12)
  • Climate Action (13)
  • Life Below Water (14) and
  • Life on Land (15)

This chart outlines these goals, our initial key performance indicators, our FY2021 baselines and where each SDG is referenced in this Sustainability Commitment.

SUSTAINABILITY ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD

In FY2021, and in accordance with Point No. 10 of our 10-Point Climate Action Plan, we began an assessment of ESG reporting methodologies, best practices, trends and opportunities. We determined that the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards would provide investors information pertaining to topics that are relevant to our operations.

We identified two SASB industries most relevant to our business: Food Retailers & Distributors and Multiline; and Specialty Retailers & Distributors. A cross-functional team reviewed these SASB metrics and selected those that were relevant to our operations. With the assistance of third-party consultants, we conducted a data quality risk-assessment of these selected SASB metrics. Based upon that assessment, we identified a subset of SASB metrics for 2021 reporting for our U.S. operations. The following SASB reference table serves as a guide to our initial disclosure for this first year. We intend to expand our SASB disclosures in the coming years.

DATA SECURITY

In its U.S. operations, Costco identifies and addresses data security risks based on several frameworks, including ISO27001, the NIST Cyber Security Framework (CSF), and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The company’s governance policies, including the Information Security Policy, outline high level strategic information security objectives to meet compliance and regulatory requirements. We have standards, procedures and programs to guide the management of data security risks.

Costco has implemented several technology measures, leveraging third-party security providers when needed, and engages in multiple activities to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities and risks in systems (e.g., scanning for common vulnerabilities and exposures, penetration tests on internal and external networks, code scans on applications, employee awareness and training, internal and external audits). We also review on a risk based priority third parties with whom we do business in an effort to reduce the likelihood of security incidents or business interruptions.

Costco employs a “defense in depth” strategy to address the attack chain and safeguard our systems and information. Some of the measures utilized by Costco include phishing detection and mitigation, multi-factor authentication, information system protection systems such as anti-malware, anti-ransomware, endpoint detection and response, file integrity monitoring, and other system hardening techniques. Networks are protected using network detection and response capabilities, are segmented, and provide flow level visibility into lateral movement potential; e-commerce systems are protected by a web application firewall. This layered defense concept combined with our detection and response capabilities allow us to minimize the potential risk of unauthorized access to our systems and information. Our Vice President of Information Security reports regularly to the Board of Directors and senior management concerning our security practices.

PROGRESS

We continue to incorporate sustainable practices in our business. Our practices are evolving over time, as we learn more and adapt to our ever-changing world, and we update our Commitment to reflect these changes. The data reported is compiled from the best available sources at the time of publication, may change as new information becomes available and will be restated if necessary in future reports.

Our Sustainability Commitments Archive provides historical versions of the Commitment only as a matter of convenience to users, who may wish to compare them over time. These historical Commitments are superseded in their entirety by the current version of the Commitment and should not be relied upon as currently accurate disclosures or otherwise.

For questions or more information, please contact Costco Customer Service.