Self-Assessment and Strategic Planning in the Retail Co-op Food Sector: Using the Sustainability and Planning Scorecard Kit (SPSK) in a Crisis Context


  • Leslie Brown Mount Saint Vincent University
  • Elizabeth Hicks Mount Saint Vincent University
  • André Leclerc Université de Moncton
  • Bonnie Petersen Mount Saint Vincent University



Strategic planning, Retail cooperative, Governance, Non-financial reporting, Cooperative difference / Coopérative de consummation rurale, Planification stratégique, Outil d’auto-evaluation de développement


After the 2015 collapse of Co-op Atlantic, the second-tier co-operative providing services and support to retail co-operatives in Canada’s Atlantic Provinces, many co-operatives contracted with Sobeys to provide services under the Foodland banner. The co-operatives’ ongoing challenge is to reaffirm their place in the community and their co-operative identity, contributing to ongoing innovation around a co-operative model appropriate to these new circumstances. This article analyzes the strategic planning process undertaken by a small PEI Foodland co-operative as it defined new directions during this crisis. It also examines the co-operative’s use of a collaboratively developed Sustainability and Planning Scorecard Toolkit. The toolkit was designed to help co-operatives through their self-evaluation process, while also facilitating the further steps of planning and taking action.

Suite au démantèlement de Coop Atlantique en 2015, la coopérative de second niveau qui offrait des services et du soutien aux coopératives de consommation dans les provinces atlantiques, plusieurs coopératives ont négocié une entente d’approvisionnement avec Sobeys, sous la bannière Foodland. Ces coopératives doivent réaffirmer leur place dans la communauté et leur distinction coopérative, et contribuer au développement d’un modèle coopératif innovant et adapté à cette nouvelle réalité. Cette recherche analyse le processus de planification stratégique ayant permis à une petite coopérative de l’Î.-P.-É. de relever ce défi dans un contexte de crise. Nous étudions aussi l’utilisation par la coopérative de l’Outil d’évaluation et de planification du développement coopératif durable, outil développé de façon collaborative. Cet outil a été conçu pour appuyer les coopératives dans une démarche d’auto-évaluation, tout en leur permettant de poursuivre les différentes étapes de conception et de mise en oeuvre d’un plan stratégique.



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Author Biographies

Leslie Brown, Mount Saint Vincent University

Leslie Brown is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Mount Saint Vincent University, 166 Bedford Hwy, Halifax NS B3M 2J6. Email:

Elizabeth Hicks, Mount Saint Vincent University

Elizabeth Hicks is an associate professor in the Department of Business Administration and Tourism at Mount Saint Vincent University, 166 Bedford Hwy, Halifax NS B3M 2J6. Email:

André Leclerc, Université de Moncton

André Leclerc is an associate researcher at the Research Group on Co-operatives Management at Université de Moncton, 18 avenue Antonine-Maillet, Moncton, NB E1A 3E9. Email:

Bonnie Petersen, Mount Saint Vincent University

Bonnie Petersen is the graduate research assistant for the Co-op Sustainability Research Project based at Mount Saint Vincent University, 166 Bedford Hwy, Halifax NS B3M 2J6. Email:


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