Drop in to any one of our stores across Nova Scotia and you’ll see smiling employees. We love coming to work each day and we’re aware we have been entrusted with a very serious responsibility. It’s a core responsibility of every NSLC employee to take every measure to help keep beverage alcohol out of the wrong hands. It’s a considerable obligation and each of us is committed to our mandate to be a responsible retailer accountable to our customers and deeply invested in our communities.
Corporate Social Responsibility is the cornerstone of every decision we make as we do our part to make Nova Scotia a better place to live and work. Our employees are dedicated to doing their part to be responsive and accountable to our customers, raise awareness about beverage alcohol issues, support our communities and reduce our environmental footprint.
We are making a conscious effort to focus on the long-term impact of our operations from a social, economic and environmental perspective. Here are some of the ways we’re doing that.
Keep It Social
Keep It Social is our responsible consumption platform on university campuses. It's a long-term, collaborative initiative that promotes drinking in moderation and use of harm reduction strategies among university and college students. Keep It Social is a branded social responsibility platform informed by students and delivered by students. In Nova Scotia, it’s an initiative that’s supported through partnerships with Acadia, Mount Saint Vincent, Cape Breton, St. Mary’s and Saint Francis Xavier universities as well as Saint Anne Universite.
“We did our homework in developing this program, working closely with universities. It’s a success because it’s a peer to peer program. It’s crucial to have the support of university administrators but it’s the student organizations that implement the program and that’s why it’s working,” said Beth Martin, manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at the NSLC.
University is a social experience and while that often involves the consumption of beverage alcohol, many students choose not to drink. The goal of this campaign is to help students better define and understand the line between social and high-risk drinking and to drink responsibly. Key to the success of the program are the student ambassadors on each campus. The Keep It Social student ambassadors are the eyes and ears on their respective campuses, relaying feedback and discovering opportunities for amplification. Ambassadors provide input and influence the direction of the creative and the messaging at each phase to ensure it is “student-approved”. Keep It Social provides a platform that universities can customize and integrate with their individual campus alcohol policies and programming.
Atlantic University Sport is a new addition to the Keep It Social platform and has elevated the visibility of the Keep It Social message at university level sporting events and provided consistency of messaging as students visit campus-to-campus.
“Atlantic University Sport is proud to be partnered with Keep It Social and to be able to leverage several of our marquee events to deliver such an important message to students in our region. For many students, this is their first time away from home,” said AUS Executive Director Phil Currie. Keep It Social was promoted at home opening football games as well as basketball, hockey and soccer tournaments resulting in well over 30,000 students exposed to the message through the AUS partnership.
This year, the Keep It Social platform was also adopted by universities in both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
We are entrusted with the sometimes difficult task of making sure beverage alcohol stays out of the hands of minors. The legal drinking age in Nova Scotia is 19 but it can be very difficult to determine a person’s age which is why we routinely ask customers who appear to be under 30 years old to provide valid identification.
“Although it’s not always easy to handle certain situations, I strongly believe it’s important to be accountable for the safety and satisfaction of our customers,” said Dylan, who works in our Larry Uteck store. At 23, Dylan falls into that 20-something category where it can be challenging to determine a customer’s age.
Jakke works in our Agricola store and said asking for ID provides the opportunity to help the customer find the right product and improve their shopping experience while helping to keep beverage alcohol from falling into the wrong hands. The 22-year-old said responsible retailing is about helping our customers understand why selling beverage alcohol responsibly is so important for them and for the NSLC.
Employees like Dylan and Jakke receive regular training for our responsible retailing program and we use mystery shoppers to make sure our policies and practises are working. With 1.72 million ID challenges last year, it is proving to be an effective method of ensuring proof of age and is a deterrent to prevent minors from making a purchase attempt.
We’re proud to work with MADD Canada by sponsoring its School Assembly Program. More than 50,000 students in grades 7 through 12 across Nova Scotia received this program last year. Featuring a multi-media presentation, this program speaks to young people on their level, encouraging them to take a closer look at their values and perceptions through a powerful dramatization about the tragic consequences of impaired driving. The video ends with testimonials from real-life familiy members and friends who share their heartbreaking stories with the audience.
We want all Nova Scotians to end their night on the right note and to get home safely. Our Cabbioke platform has been delighting Nova Scotians since 2014 with its karaoke monitors and microphones and disco balls, changing behaviours one song at a time. It’s a fun way to help us spread the importance of planning ahead to ensure you get home safely. Last year, our vibrant purple Cabbioke travelled to 25 community events across the province, visited 27 stores and participated in 16 parades. We’ve sung thousands of songs, from Dancing Queen to I Love Rock and Roll and awarded almost 2000 taxi vouchers, working to change behaviours and keep Nova Scotians safe.
You can see some of the fun for yourself by viewing this video: