Natural Grocers Recaps Commitment to Regenerative Agriculture

Retailer releases 2022 ESG report outlining practices and progress
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
NG Dairy
Natural Grocers' ESG report emphasized its high product standards that reflect its commitment to regenerative agriculture.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, which recently shared steady financial results for its first fiscal quarter of 2023, is also on pace to fulfill its sustainability commitments. The retailer is out with its environmental, social and governance (ESG) report for its 2022 fiscal year showing progress towards boosting its “triple bottom line” of improving human health, the health of the environment and ensuring a robust economy for its communities.

The report zeroed in on Natural Grocers’ efforts in supporting regenerative agriculture, given that the farming approach aligns with the company’s stringent product standards and founding principles. “We chose to focus on our commitment to regenerative agriculture in this year’s ESG report because we believe it is beneficial to the earth and an important practice with the potential to mitigate climate change,” explained Kemper Isely, executive co-president. “Regenerative agriculture is a reclamation of the best practices from the past, combined with current evidence-based research, to improve and renew the ecosystem and natural resources that are foundational to farming.”

To that point, the grocer’s offerings include 100% organic produce, 100% pasture-raised dairy, 100% free-range eggs, 100% humanely raised and sustainably-sourced meats, 100% non-GMO bulk products, among other items that follow regenerative agricultural philosophies and practices. According to the ESG report, Natural Grocers provides more than 50% organic across all products and shares with its customers a list of “Things We Don’t Carry and Why,” along with information like its egg ranking system and meat and seafood ranking system.

In addition to toplining its regenerative agriculture efforts, Natural Grocers shared results of recent initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. Examples include the installation of energy-saving carbon dioxide refrigeration systems in a new store, the automation of ordering for most departments to reduce waste and the sourcing of 36% of its grid electricity from renewable resources.

On the social front, Natural Grocers reported that 51% of its store managers and 54% assistant store managers were women as of Sept. 30, 2022. The retailer also noted that it continues to strive for diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, abilities and age through its Store Manager Accelerator Readiness Training (SMART) program.

Additionally, the latest ESG report highlighted the retailer’s inclusion in Progressive Grocer’s 2022 Impact Awards. Natural Grocers won two awards in the categories of food security and nutrition leadership and workforce development and employee support.

The full ESG report is available online.

Founded in 1955, family-operated Natural Grocers operates over 160 stores in 21 statesThe Lakewood, Colo.-based natural and organic grocer is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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