How Sprouts Farmers Market Walks the ESG Walk

Natural retailer releases report highlighting its environmental, social and governance results
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Sprouts rescue
Sprouts reported that it donated 32 million pounds of food last year.

As a grocer that hangs its proverbial hat on natural and organic food, Sprouts Farmers Market regularly shares the ways in which it sets and meets particular standards. This week, the company released its "2022 ESG Report" recapping efforts across the environmental, social and governance spectrum.

The report, divided into different areas of overarching ESG efforts, was prefaced by a letter from CEO Jack Sinclair, who noted that the company continually works to do the right thing by shoppers, team members, vendor partners, communities and the planet. “We do not believe in sacrificing one for any other, and the success we saw in 2022 is a demonstration of this philosophy in action,” wrote Sinclair.

[Read more: "Sprouts Farmers Market Partners With Instacart on Retail Media Network"]

Under the environmental umbrella that spans sustainable sourcing, climate change, renewable energy and plastics and packaging waste management, the report revealed that 26% of items sold at Sprouts last year were organic and the retailer sold $3.2 billion in products with a social or environmental attribute. Sprouts also reported that it completed scope 3 carbon emissions inventory and received EPG GreenChill certifications for 55 stores. The company donated 32 million pounds of food, nearly half of which was healthy produce, and achieved an 87% food recovery rate and a 69% total landfill diversion rate.

As for packaging, the retailer pointed out that 100% of bags at checkout will be reusable by the end of this year and that 2.5 million meat trays were switched over from polystyrene to recyclable #1 PET trays in 2022.

Sprouts also made strides in areas falling under the social umbrella, including nutrition and health, responsible sourcing, diversity, equity and inclusion, human capital development, community impact and health, safety and well-being. According to the retailer, 77% of promotions last year were female and/or ethnically or racially diverse. Also in this area, $200 million in products sold came from minority and women-owned suppliers. Reaching out to service areas within its footprint, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation gave $3.2 million to local school programs covering gardening and nutrition and brought together 400 educators for an inaugural nationwide school garden education summit.

Finally, the ESG report spotlighted governance accomplishments, like the completion of a human rights risk assessment and the creation of an ethics hotline for anonymous reporting of concerns. Underscoring the board and executive support of ESG principles, Sprouts emphasized that 88% of its board members are independent and 38% are female or racially or ethnically diverse.

“I’m proud to share the strong progress we made in our ESG initiatives over the past year. Our success is rooted in our philosophy of ‘doing well by doing good’ which underscores the importance of operating our business in a way that demonstrates care for our team members, customers, communities, vendor partners, and the planet,” said Brandon Lombardi, chief sustainability officer.

Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market employs approximately 31,000 associates and operates almost 400 stores in 23 states nationwide. The company is No. 51 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds