Tops Shares Eco-Friendly Efforts

New York retailer makes strides in solar power, fleet efficiency and on-site EV charging
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Tops trucks
Among other sustainability efforts, Tops Friendly Markets is converting over to nearly 50 trucks powered by clean burning natural gas.

Earth Day is a time for many businesses to take stock of their sustainability efforts, and New York-based grocer Tops Friendly Markets used the occasion to announce some of its recent measures to improve the environment.

Tops has focused on ways to reduce its own carbon footprint through eco-friendlier business practices. From the transportation side, the company reported that it is changing over to 48 new trucks that are powered by clean natural gas instead of diesel fuel. Tops estimates that the new natural gas trucks will eliminate 3,246 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

Energy is another focal area for the retailer, which has increased its use of solar energy. Tops partners include EDP Renewables and Convergent Energy + Power to provide solar power to at least 82 store locations. Through its collaboration with Convergent last year, the grocer was able to access solar energy whether or not the sun is shining and lowered the reliance on power plants during peak demand hours.

The retailer is also welcoming and accommodating shoppers’ energy efficient vehicles. Last year, Tops offered its first high-speed electric vehicle charging hub at its LaGrangeville, N.Y., location through a partnership with EVOLVE NY, and now offers EV stations at locations in Williamsville, Rhinebeck and New Paltz, N.Y.  The company is working with Tesla and other vendors to add more electric vehicle charging stations in 2022.

Tops customers are also encouraged to help reduce food waste. In 2021, the chain significantly expanded its Flashfood program that connects shoppers with food nearing its sell-by date. 

John Persons, president of Tops Friendly Markets, says that these and other initiatives are bringing the grocer closer to its goals. “Our ongoing commitment to sustainability is met with enthusiasm and resolve every day, as we work to ensure we leave our communities — and our planet — better for the next generation,” he said. “We are excited to be working with so many business partners whose values align with our environmental conservation vision.”

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Friendly Markets operates 157 supermarkets, with five additional franchise stores, and employs 15,000 associates in New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont. The company is No. 66 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. 

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