Publix is a Fortune 500 company, established in 1930 in Winter Haven, FL by George Jenkins. It now has over one thousand stores in the states of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina. It maintains a Code of Ethical Conduct for its financial managers and a general Mission Statement, but some groups are demanding that the chain accept a Code of Ethics that addresses its current purchasing policies.
Size of Publix
In 2009 the chain boasted sales of $24.3 billion dollars, making it one of the largest chains in the United States by volume. Publix employs more than 141,000 people, making it the largest employee-owned supermarket in the country.
Code of Ethics for Financial Managers
Publix maintains a 12-point Code of Ethics for Financial Managers that is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and that regulates its business activity. The Code emphasizes integrity and transparency, with provisions for regular review and oversight. Breaches of this conduct are to be reported to the General Consul of the chain, or to the Chief Financial Officer, as well as all legally required reporting to outside authorities.
More generally, Publix has a five-point Mission Statement. In brief, the Mission Statement calls on all employees to make Publix the "premier quality food retailer in the world," through development of customer value, elimination of waste, promoting dignity and security of employees, stewardship for the stockholders, and acting as responsible members of society as a whole.
In 2009 and 2010, farmer's groups demanded that Publix adopt a Code of Ethics that requires the chain to pay more for its produce, specifically an extra penny for every pound of tomatoes. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers maintain that farm workers in Florida are abused, and this price increase will have a significant impact on their livelihood. Publix maintains that this is an issue between farm workers and their employers, not retailers.
Publix organized a major charitable effort on behalf of victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, raising over $2.3 million in four days, an expression of the social responsibility of the food chain. Publix is also a major contributor to United Way chapters in its area.