As part of its effort to celebrate Earth Day 2012, SUPERVALU announced a major expansion of its environmental sustainability program. The company is committing to have 300 stores divert 90 percent or more of their waste from local landfills by the end of the current fiscal year (February 23, 2013). This accomplishment, which will involve the addition of nearly 250 of the company’s current stores, is a major milestone in SUPERVALU’s journey to achieve zero waste throughout the enterprise. Already an industry leader in cutting waste from grocery store operations, SUPERVALU announced during its Q4 earnings call last week that it had transitioned 54 stores to 90 percent waste diversion during the past year, exceeding its original target of 40 locations. The company’s last fiscal year ended February 25, 2012.
“Last year marked incredible progress in our zero waste efforts and we’re even more excited about what lies ahead,” said Craig Herkert, chief executive officer and president, SUPERVALU. “Keeping waste out of landfills is better for the environment, better for our customers and better for the bottom line. It’s simply the right thing for us to do.”
SUPERVALU operates under nine traditional retail brands nationwide including: Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Saveand Shoppers Food & Pharmacy. While the majority of efforts around waste diversion have been focused in the company’s Albertsons stores, the work has also been aggressively expanded to Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s, and additional SUPERVALU banners will actively pursue this distinction in the current fiscal year.
SUPERVALU’s commitment to sustainable store operations yielded incredible results during the last year:
- Over 54 million pounds of food donated through the Fresh Rescue program, equivalent to approximately 45 million meals using the USDA conversion of 1.2 pounds per meal.
- Reduction of more than 28,000 tons of landfill waste in 2011, as compared to calendar year 2010.
- A 98 percent increase in mixed paper recycling, 55 percent increase in hard plastic recycling, and 293 percent increase in the number of stores composting or diverting organic material (491 total).
- Reduced garbage expenses costs $3.4 million and increased recycling income to over $36 million.
“A key part of our effort to eliminate waste is SUPERVALU’s Fresh Rescue program, which provides significant donations of fresh meats, produce and vegetables to our community partners,” added Herkert. “This is a vital part of serving our neighborhoods, helping put to good use food that might have otherwise ended up being wasted.”
Waste Reduction Program Metrics
The goal of SUPERVALU’s zero waste program is to eliminate landfill waste from operations. To achieve recognition, an individual store must divert a minimum of 90 percent of all waste from landfills, and set a goal to continue working toward 100 percent waste reduction. This effort places a significant emphasis on each store’s ability to maximize total waste reduction and requires a serious commitment from store associates.
Fresh Rescue Food Donations
A key piece of SUPERVALU’s waste diversion efforts is its Fresh Rescue Program, which captures fresh items such as meat, dairy and produce that have reached their “sell by” date, but are still edible and safe, and donates them to local nonprofit organizations.
A National Leader
In late 2010, two Albertsons stores in Santa Barbara, Calif. became the first U.S. retail grocery stores to reach this environmental milestone by diverting over 90 percent of waste from landfills.