More Sustainability Coverage
For food retailers, the definition of sustainability has evolved rapidly over the past several years. No longer is it merely about transitioning to more environmentally friendly refrigeration systems or reducing refrigerant leaks. Nor is it solely focused on achieving energy-efficiency gains in HVAC, lighting and refrigeration. While these goals are as important as ever, the scope of supermarket sustainability efforts is expanding.
From farm to fork, retailers are considering nearly every aspect of their supply chains as part of their sustainability footprints.
Today’s discerning consumers are increasingly concerned about the food supply chain. They’re seeking organic and natural food products, sustainable packaging materials, and environmentally responsible food-sourcing and -processing practices. They also actively research and seek companies that practice responsible food sourcing. Aligning with these consumer preferences has quickly become a competitive differentiator. What’s more, retaining the loyalty of sustainability-minded customers is increasingly a factor to consider when calculating the return on investment (ROI) of decarbonization.
Many progressively minded retailers are setting short- and long-term net-zero targets that go well beyond consumer considerations. Achieving these goals requires a multifaceted approach that puts retailers in the center of several global environmental megatrends:
- Minimizing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions
- Optimizing energy management to reduce energy costs and drive ROI
- Transitioning to lower global-warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and/or phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
- Electrification of transport vehicles and refrigeration
- Integration of renewable energy sources
- Reducing food waste
To help them define their paths to net zero, comply with regulations and drive sustainability initiatives, companies are embracing environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) commitments within their organizations, typically resulting in a public declaration of their sustainability goals. But with every food retailer having unique targets and priorities, they find themselves at various points along their sustainability journeys.
[Read more: "How Sustainability Has Moved From an Idea to an Imperative"]
This article will examine the key considerations that food retailers can use to evaluate their own progress and chart a course for achieving short- and long-term sustainability goals.