Kroger Lauds its Sustainability Success
The Kroger Co. has released its 12th annual sustainability report,which details progress in 2017 on the grocery retailer’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan as well as its 2020 Sustainability Goals.
"Kroger associates achieved incredible progress on our business strategy and sustainability journey in 2017. We launched our three-year Restock Kroger plan, engaged more deeply with our Purpose: To Feed the Human Spirit, made progress on our 2020 Sustainability Goals, and introduced Kroger's ambitious Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "These are all profoundly important to who we are and what we stand for as a company."
This is the company's first report published in accordance with the latest GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards. Kroger utilized a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process to identify the most important and emerging sustainability issues, to demonstrate its commitment to applying each of GRI's Reporting Principles: Identification, Prioritization and Validation.
"As America's grocer, Kroger has been privileged to be considered a trusted partner in the communities we serve for over 135 years. We know that going forward people want to shop and partner with, work for and invest in companies with purpose, vision, shared values and ambitious social impact goals," said Jessica Adelman, Kroger's group vice president of corporate affairs. "This year's sustainability report offers more forward-looking commitments, transparency and disclosure around Kroger's shared values with society than ever before."
New and Updated Sustainability Commitments
Kroger also formalized and refined several key sustainability commitments in this year's report, including:
A formalized sustainability commitment and statement on human rights
A responsible sourcing framework, which provides a summary of Kroger's major responsible sourcing policies and commitments
An updated animal welfare policy, which includes a new, time-based commitment to phase out the use of gestation crates for sows
An updated sustainable seafood policy
A policy to protect pollinators (previously announced in June)
"Kroger's sustainability and social impact plans are also consistent with and in support of several key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals," Adelman said. "We are particularly proud to announce formal alignment of our most ambitious work, Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, with Goal 2 – Zero Hunger and Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production."
Ending Hunger: Kroger directed a total of 325 million meals – in food and funds – to help end hunger in its communities, including 91.2 million pounds of food donated company-wide to local food banks through Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Rescue program.
Analyzing Food Waste: In partnership with World Wildlife Fund, Kroger conducted a detailed food waste analysis on its retail store operations to set a baseline for achieving zero food waste by 2025.
Advancing Innovation: Kroger shared plans for its Zero Hunger │ Zero Waste Innovation Fund with the goal of funding new ideas and scalable solutions to help end hunger, and particularly, to prevent and reduce food waste.
Supporting Communities: Kroger directed a total of $358 million in charitable giving – in food and funds – to its communities. About $181 million of this amount focused on ending hunger in its communities.
OptUP: Kroger's OptUP app scores the nutritional value of customer purchases and highlights better-for-you options.
Growing Jobs: Kroger's family of stores created 10,000 new jobs in 2017 and invested more in benefits, rewards and opportunities for associates.
Feed Your Future: Kroger associates can receive up to $3,500 annually (and up to $21,000 over the course of their career) toward continuing education no matter what stage in their education journey.
Moving Toward Zero Waste: Kroger achieved a 77 percent waste diversion rate in 2017, thanks to waste reduction and recycling activities across the business.
Saving Energy: Kroger retrofitted more than 1,500 stores with LED lights last year, saving 104 million kWh of electricity and helping achieve a 38 percent electricity savings since 2000.
Sourcing Responsibly: Kroger is reporting that 21 percent of eggs sold are from cage-free hens, 87 percent of wild-caught seafood is sustainably sourced, and all milk and dairy suppliers for its plants are currently enrolled in the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program.
Protecting People: Kroger's new Statement on Human Rights further articulates its commitment to protecting human rights in its operations and supply chain.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names across the United States. The country’s largest traditional grocer is ranked second on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 listing of top grocers.