GSC Energy Challenge Launches
The Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) program and New England’s grocery retailer associations have joined forces to launch the GSC Energy Challenge. Involving employees in sustainable operating practices, the event offers tools for retailers to lower costs and shrink their environmental footprint. The free initiative is funded through a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to work directly with communities to reduce environmental risks to protect and improve human health and the quality of life.
Participating retailers include Big Y, Associated Grocers of New England, and Hannaford Supermarkets. Stores taking part in the GSC Energy Challenge receive support and training to set, measure and achieve energy-efficiency goals.
“By joining this grocery store energy challenge, food retailers will empower their store associates to identify energy-efficiency opportunities and calculate cost savings,” said U.S. EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. “These efforts can benefit our environment, as well as providing cost savings to companies and consumers. This is the type of innovative outcome that EPA New England’s Healthy Communities grant program is very happy to support.”
“We are excited that a number of our members are participating in this challenge and are learning ways to help their stores be more energy efficient,” said Chris Flynn, president of the Boston-based Massachusetts Food Association. “The retail industry in Massachusetts is committed to operating more sustainably for the benefit of all the communities that we operate in.”
“Grocery retailers [of] all sizes have an opportunity to make positive impacts on the planet by reducing energy use and ultimately greenhouse-gas emissions,” noted Catrina Damrell, GSC program manager. “The Mass Food Association, the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association and the Connecticut Food Association have been instrumental [in] launching this challenge. Despite the pandemic, the grocery sector continues to prioritize sustainability. I am looking forward to working with the stores joining the challenge to help them manage their energy usage more effectively in a way that ensures a profitable bottom line.”
More than 1,000 grocery stores across the country are enrolled in Plymouth, Massachusetts-based Manomet’s GSC program. GSC helps corporate and store-level staff analyze store-level practices and equipment and identify no- and low-cost strategies to lift revenue, increase energy efficiency, reduce waste and lower costs. The program is the only one to focus on the operations inside the building, providing grocers with strategies for both no-cost operational management practices and capital investments.
Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford operates 184 stores in five Northeast states, employing more than 26,000 associates. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y operates 83 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut and is No. 72 on PG’s list.