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Memory Social Responsibility 2005-2006 EROSKI FOUNDATION

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CHAIRMAN'S LETTER

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Constan Dacosta Simón

In currently economic thinking, there is an increasing body of opinion that believes there is a need for companies to inseparably combine economic growth with social responsibility and respect for the environment. This should be carried out in practice, not only in theory, including in the profit and loss account itself the impact of three variables that are traditionally unlinked, although there are really affected by the day-to-day decisions taken by a company.

This idea arises at a time when the public sees the company as a key player involved in resolving the social and environmental challenges faced by the community. For many, a company is a social agent that enters into undertakings with society, above and beyond the mere creation of wealth. It is this role that gives rise to ethical requirements and the commitment to contributing to the progress and wellbeing of the community of which it forms part.

This idea has given rise to appeals to the business world from organisations such as the OECD or the United Nations, via its Secretary-General, to take a leading role in the voluntary management of social and environmental issues. It is via these initiatives that the concept of social responsibility begins to take shape in businesses, who should integrate interests and facilitate the participation of different stakeholders in their decisions. This makes the business permeable. Transversality, or horizontal planning, integrates different aspects from both a bottom-up and top-down viewpoint, combining interests and taking responsibility for once-remote challenges and situations. This thus combines responsibility/participation/transparency with sustainability whilst, at the same time, the integration of expectations creates socio-economic and environmental value that makes the company sustainable.

For Eroski, social responsibility is a precept contained and defined in our business mission, to which we aim to give consistency and transversality. Consistency with this philosophy means we aim to adopt our decisions applying our commitment to listening to and the participation of our stakeholders. And we implement transversality by ensuring that this culture permeates the entire organisation and is reflected in the Group's annual plans through integrative strategies and policies.

This commitment lies behind this Social Responsibility Report. Our intention is for it to be a reflection of our transparency and openness to our stakeholders. To ensure that this is the case, we have called upon a group of outside experts to whose judgement we have submitted and whose report is included in this Report. By employing ISAE 3000 verification methodology, the qualitative information we supply and the data displayed show a true and fair view of the management of social responsibility carried out throughout the organisation. The methodology followed, version three (G3) of the Global Reporting Initiative, considered the most approved and standardised internationally, has achieved an A+ grade, the best possible in terms of extent and quality of information.

We feel we are a transparent company tuned to the community's concerns. One that keeps channels permanently open with its workers, consumers, customers, the tertiary sector, university, public authorities and the media. This Social Responsibility Report renders account of these practices and provides a means of expressing, and a further example of, this transparency.

Despite the good progress shown in this Report, we are far from being satisfied with the results. There is no lack of improvements to be made, or challenges to be overcome. Consumers ask for a greater commitment to their wellbeing and for more detailed information on our policies and products. Some social organisations call for strength in going still further in our commitment to the environment. And we also have our own internal goals. Due to the consistency mentioned above, we are resolved to boost the effective participation of workers in their day-to-day tasks, coming very close to the traditional concept of self-management. We also ain to find ways to actively listen to consumers using an innovative and powerful form of public participation.

Our undertaking to the sustainability of the project that is Eroski requires us to set more ambitious improvement targets, to optimise the creation of value wherever we are. Our progress in this area will be the subject of our next Social Responsibility Report.

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