Whole Foods, Whole Person, Whole Earth - This Market Shines
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Some companies shine. Others $hine. Still others SHINE with an elegance far beyond the reach of the dollar.
And this company does just that, announcing both a blowout quarter with soaring profits, and, the growing success of Eco-Scale, a way of helping shoppers make "smarter, greener choices for their families and the planet" in purchasing cleaning products.
Which is why Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) is the star of the One-World-Rating system. This truly stellar business stands tall with the highest possible score of OW-333(9) - a 3 out of 3 for Planet (growing Natural Capital), a 3 for People (growing Social Capital), and a 3 for Profit (growing Economic Capital), giving it the maximum one-digit sustainability rating of (9) out of 9 (the sum of the three forms of capital, 3+3+3, on which a sustainable One-World can be build).
On Thursday, May 4, Whole Foods Market's stock soared 7.57% on news that it's profit jumped 31% on stronger sales. That's good news for all stockholders. My purchase in March, 2009 at a low of $17.59 makes for a return of 415% which is just one of the reasons I love this company.
Motley Fool CAPS gives Whole Foods a rating of four out of five stars, which converts easily to a One-World-Rating of 3 out of a possible 3 for potential profit, or, ability to grow Economic Capital. [1 or 2 stars CAPS-Rating = an OW-Rating of "1" for Economic Capital; a 3 star CAPS-Rating = an OW-Rating of "2" for Economic Capital; a 4 or 5 star CAPS-Rating = an OW-Rating of "3" for Economic Capital)]. So, in calculating Whole Foods Market's One-World-Rating, a profitable OW-XX3(X) begins to emerge. This seems to be a rating further justified by the collective wisdom of the CAPS community. Of 1474 All Star CAPS players 1375 say it will "outperform" while only 99 say it will "underperform." Further, 16 Wall Street analysts feel it will "outperform" and only 1 "underperform."
And its dazzling potential to make a profit doesn't stop with this latest surge in net income. With a current store count of 324, a mere fraction of the number other major grocery chains have, it has plenty of room to grow as it rides this rising mega-trend towards "natural and organic." And it is planning accordingly. It opened three new stores in the second quarter, has opened three already in the third quarter with four more to follow, and has signed eight leases for new stores expected to open around fiscal year 2013.
So far so good. Measuring Profit alone makes WFM a potentially rewarding investment. But, to complete the one-world estimate of true wealth (beyond profit), how does Whole Foods measure up on Planet and People?
Not content to impress Wall Street with profitability alone, WFM intends to help clean up the dirt so often associated with "the Street" in ways that demonstrates a care for the planet. Launching a direct campaign from its own aisles to the people on Main Street, they are doing this through the sale of cleaning products that are safe for the environment and safe for the home. An in-house system to rate cleaning products - more rigorous and transparent than even the governments - guides shoppers.
"We launched [the] Eco-Scale [rating system] to help shoppers make smarter, greener choices for their families and the planet and provide a way to know exactly what ingredients are in their household cleaning products," said Jim Speirs, global vice president of procurement for Whole Foods Market." According to a recent company press release, a year after Eco-Scale's launch, "more than 90 percent of the household cleaning products sales at Whole Foods Market pass its green cleaning test."
Which is part of the reason WFM's score for Planet care in its One-World-Rating is so high. The second of The Natural Step's (TNS) four principles of sustainability states that, to become a sustainable society we must "eliminate our contribution to the progressive buildup of chemicals and compounds produced by society (for example, dioxins, PCBs, and DDT )." This is practical and sound advice. And Whole Foods is following it diligently by helping to eliminate "ingredients with significant environmental or safety concerns like chlorine, phosphates or formaldehyde donors" from the cleaning products it sells.
Again, WFM demonstrates its rigorous commitment to caring for the planet. Organic foods, sustainable fish harvesting, free range eggs and meat... the list goes on and on. Whole Food's One-World-Rating adds another digit to its 3 for Profit - a 3 for Planet (growing Natural Capital), making it a promising OW-3X3(X).
Which leaves People.
If WFM has impressed so far as a Profitable company that cares for the Planet, it does not dissappoint in the final leg holding up the sustainability stool, People.
Their public narrative speaks to their commitment to caring for People. Fair pay that includes no executive making more than 19 times the average workers wage; paying 100% of all employees health care premiums; making Forbes' annual "100 Best Companies to Work For" list repeatedly. And that's just what WFM does for its North American employees.
The work of the company's Whole Planet Foundation makes its commitment to People one-world in scope. The Foundation focuses on "poverty alleviation in developing-world communities where Whole Foods Market sources products," partnering with local micro-finance institutions that have literally helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs. WFM's commitment to Fair Trade is similarly inspiring, giving it the final score of 3 for its company practices that demontrate a care of People for a One-World-Rating of OW333(9).
It really is true. Some companies shine. Others $hine. While others SHINE with an elegance far beyond the reach of the dollar.
And Whole Foods Market does just that, making it the kind of business, with Interface (OW-332(8), read), within whose orbit more and more investors and consumers want to circle, one-investment, one-purchase, at a time.
Destination? Whole Foods, Whole Person, Whole Earth. And a wealth comprehensively calibrated - OW-333(9) - to care for the One-World we have.
TripleEFocus1 owns shares in Interface and Whole Foods. The Motley Fool owns shares of Whole Foods Market. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Whole Foods Market. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.