Meijer Inc. will host its inaugural Sustainability Supplier Summit, which will give vendors nationwide the chance to showcase their sustainable products – from food to pets to home goods – for the retailer to consider carrying in its stores.
The virtual event will take place June 20-23 in the wake of a recent survey Meijer conducted to identify environmental issues relevant to the company and its customers. Sourcing from suppliers with a strong commitment to sustainability and expanding Meijer’s collection of sustainable products were among the most notable topics addressed in the survey.
“At Meijer, we understand that to be a good company, we must be a good neighbor, which is why we integrate environmental sustainability into our daily operations,” said Peter Whitsett, Meijer’s EVP of merchandising and marketing. “But so much of what we do in this space extends beyond what customers see on our shelves, which was why we felt it was time to seek out sustainability-focused vendors to help us expand our significant base of sustainable product offerings.”
Meijer already offers thousands of sustainable and clean products, including own-brand clothing lines made from recycled polyester and 100% organic cotton, which launched in 2021.
The upcoming summit aims to expand the grocer’s sustainable product offerings and will focus on categories across the store. To meet the company’s sustainability standards, Meijer merchants are targeting 38 certifications on vendor products or their manufacturing and procurement processes. For instance, seafood merchants are looking at vendors following the Best Aquaculture Practices, while toy merchants are interested in vendors with Ecologo certifications to ensure that products are made without harmful chemicals, and grocery and consumable merchants are looking for vendors that participate in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Program, which validates standards on forests, climate, human rights and livelihoods.
Certified vendors with retail-ready products can apply online to take part in the summit by Tuesday, April 26. Meijer is partnering with Solon, Ohio-based Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) and its subsidiary product discovery tool, RangeMe, to host the event through the ECRM Connect virtual platform. Once applications for the event are submitted, Meijer teams will review and select the vendors they’d like to meet at the summit. Suppliers not chosen for the summit will still be accessible via the RangeMe registration tool and may be reconsidered by Meijer merchants in the future as business needs change.
Meijer has also worked with ECRM and San Francisco-based RangeMe on virtual events for diverse and local suppliers.
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates more than 258 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 18 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food retailers in North America.