Natural Grocers Publishes Inaugural ESG Report

Organic and natural retailer highlights standards and accomplishments across sourcing and operations
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Natural Grocers storefront
Colorado-based Natural Grocers released its first ESG report highlighting production standards, pricing strategies, community support, employee engagement and more.

Natural Grocers has released its first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report. Although it has built its business on sustainability and regenerative agriculture since its founding in the 1950s, the natural and organic retailer mapped out its standards and results in the recently released document.

For example, according to the official ESG report, Natural Grocers enhanced its product standards in 2021 to sell only free-range eggs after purveying cage-free eggs for decades. The company also noted that it is the only specialty retailer in the United States within its size footprint to deliver 100% organic produce, 100% non-GMO bulk products, 100% pasture-raised dairy products and 100% humanely raised and sustainably sourced meats, fish and seafood.

In addition to outlining its benchmarks for quality and sustainability and its pricing strategies to ensure access to organic and natural foods, Natural Grocers outlined other ESG-related activities and accomplishments in 2021, such as the launch of the Heroes in Aprons Fund, a charitable entity providing financial assistance to qualifying employees experiencing unanticipated hardships. The grocer reported that the combination of company giving and customer fundraisers totaled $1 million in monetary donations this past year.

In its ESG report, Natural Grocers linked the retailer’s record financial year to growing consumer demand for natural and organic products that meet high thresholds for sustainability. “Natural Grocers was founded by our parents in 1955. They wanted to improve the health and wellbeing of their family, friends and neighbors and sustain the health of the planet we all share. Today, Natural Grocers is still a leader of this movement because our five founding principles continue to drive our business practices: nutrition education, the highest quality organic and natural products, ‘always affordable’ prices, commitment to our crew and our communities,” said Heather Isely, Natural Grocers’ EVP.

The retailer’s ESG efforts continue in early 2022. This week, Natural Grocers announced that it designated February as Crew Appreciation Month and will provide employees with gifts, giveaways, discounts and more as a gesture of appreciation.

With 162 stores in 20 states, Lakewood, Colo.-based Natural Grocers is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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