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Whole Foods Market Debuts 1st Social Impact Update

Retailer details key initiatives such as reducing environmental footprint, thoughtfully sourcing products and strengthening communities
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Whole Foods Market Debuts 1st Social Impact Update
Whole Foods Market released its inaugural Social Impact Update to provide an in-depth look into the key initiatives that cover environmental stewardship, responsible sourcing and community giving.

Building on its legacy of caring for communities and the environment, Whole Foods Market has released its inaugural Social Impact Update to provide an in-depth look into the company’s key initiatives to nourish people and the planet.

The update outlines Whole Foods’ progress toward its environmental stewardship, responsible-sourcing and community-giving objectives, with a focus on five key initiatives:

• Programs and partnerships that minimize food waste in stores and nourish communities in need.
• Promoting alternative energy in stores and helping customers reduce their environmental impact.
• The Sourced for Good program, which helps customers easily identify products that support workers, communities and the environment.
• Sourcing local products and supporting local suppliers through the Local Producer Loan program.
• Supporting the growing regenerative agriculture movement.

“Caring for our communities and the environment is part of our core purpose as a company, and this update shines a light on some of the ways we’re working to drive lasting impact that challenges the expectations of any grocer,” said Caitlin Leibert, VP of corporate social responsibility at Whole Foods.

Highlights from the update include that in 2021, Whole Foods donated nearly 30 million meals to food rescue and redistribution programs and generated millions of dollars for hundreds of communities across 12 countries through the Sourced for Good program. This past year, the retailer also awarded more than $535,000 though the Local Producer Loan Program to small-scale, local or emerging producers.

Additionally, Whole Foods scored the No. 2 spot on Friends of the Earth’s Bee-Friendly Retailer Scorecard, which ranks 25 of the largest U.S. grocery retailers on pesticides and pollinator protection in their food and beverage supply chains. The grocer was one of only two retailers that met Friends of the Earths request to expand organic offerings to 15% of overall sales by 2025.

“This update marks another exciting milestone for Whole Foods Market as we report on some of the key initiatives that underpin our continued commitment to reducing our environmental footprint, thoughtfully sourcing our products and strengthening our communities,” said John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market. Mackey will retire as CEO on Sept. 1 and be replaced by COO Jason Buechel.

The first certified-organic national grocer, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company is No. 26 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top retailers of food and consumables in the United States, while its parent company, Seattle-based Amazon, is No. 2 on PGs list.

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