Grocers Share Sustainability Highlights

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Grocers Share Sustainability Highlights

04/22/2019
Grocers Share Sustainability Highlights
Among other sustainability practices, grocers are encouraging shoppers to pack items in reusable bags

With Earth Day comes grocers’ release of their achievements in the area of sustainability. For instance, Food Lion is highlighting its environmental efforts in the form of an infographic showing the following:

  • Conservation: Since 2000, the grocer has saved more than 825.5 million kilowatt-hours of energy, equivalent to powering 66,340 homes for a year.
  • Recycling: In 2018, Food Lion recycled 8,862 tons of food into animal feed, 126,915 tons of office paper, and 5,932 tons of plastic bags and other in-store plastics.
  • Food Rescue: The first retailer to introduce a food rescue program 20 years, ago, the grocer continued its activities in this regard through its Food Lion Feeds arm by donating 88 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy products and shelf-stable food in 2018.
  • Sustainable Products: Food Lion’s sustainable seafood policy, covering more than 2,500 fresh, frozen, canned or packaged products sold across the store, means that its seafood products are traceable back to the original source fishery or farm.
  • Recognition: The company recently garnered its 18th consecutive Energy Star Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – a record among grocers – for continued leadership in energy efficiency.

One of Food Lion’s sister banners, Giant Food Stores, is celebrating they occasion with various community partnerships designed to elevate its earth-friendly practices, including scheduled events with various local organizations and a recently introduced reusable bag program. The grocer also revealed that it had recycled more than 51 million pounds of organic waste into clean green energy, and 107 million pounds of cardboard, saving 911,000 trees, and helped transform plastic bags collected at its stores into 50 community benches.  

Similarly, Sprouts Farmers Market has made available its 2018 report on sustainability and social initiatives, highlights of which include:

  • Donating 27 million pounds of food to local food banks, diverting 37 million pounds of food to outlets such as cattle farms and compost facilities, and recycling 91 million pounds of cardboard.
  • Advancing its sustainable seafood policy, leading to about 100 percent of Sprouts’ fresh and frozen seafood being sourced from vendors that are certified sustainable, participating in a Fishery or Aquaculture Improvement Program or well-managed fisheries.
  • Awarding $2 million in nonprofit donations through the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation to provide funding to health-and-wellness programs.

The grocer is also marking Earth Month in April by offering online educational tips and resources regarding the reduction of food waste, recycling, composting and creating natural cleaners.

For its part, ShopRite, a banner operated by members of retailer cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. has received the 2019 Environmental Leadership Award from EarthShare New Jersey, an organization that works with 400 environmental groups across the state and country. The banner earned the honor through such accomplishments as donating 5,000 tons of fresh food to community food banks last year while composting and diverting another 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills; having more than 100 Green Teams in place at stores, made up of associates who volunteer both at the stores in in the community to improve the environment; sponsoring nearly 30 regional environmental organizations; operating its own recycling center, in Elizabeth, N.J., which has recycled more than 2.5 million tons of material since the late 1970s; and inspiring customers and communities to help clean up parks, beaches and town centers for  the ShopRite Earth Day Challenge, in which 3,000 associates and ShopRite customers took part this year.

In related news, Washington, D.C.-based nongovernmental organization Environmental Investigation Agency has identified Ahold Delhaize USA, Aldi U.S., Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market and Target as standout leaders in reducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) through energy-efficient equipment and technology.

Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion has more than 1,000 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, employing 63,000-plus associates. Carlisle, Pa. Giant Food Stores operates nearly 180 neighborhood stores, 132 pharmacies, 99 fuel stations, and online grocery ordering and delivery services, employing more than 30,000 associates. The banners’ parent company Ahold Delhaize USA, the U.S. division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Royal Ahold Delhaize Group, is No. 4 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States. With 50 member companies that independently own and operate 344 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite, The Fresh Grocer, Readington Farms and Dearborn Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Virginia, Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern is No 7 on the list, while Phoenix-based Sprouts, employing more than 30,000 associates at 300-plus stores in 19 states, is No. 22.