Kroger Outlines Private Brand ESG Progress

The Kroger Co. this week outlined an updated Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) action plan to support the company’s comprehensive ESG strategy and published its annual ESG report.

“We live our purpose – to feed the human spirit – through Kroger’s commitments to advance positive impacts for people and our planet and create more resilient global systems,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to report that Kroger continues to make progress toward key ESG goals. I am especially proud of the Kroger team’s collective effort to create communities free from hunger and food waste. Through Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, Kroger has donated billions of meals to help end hunger and millions of pounds of surplus fresh food to avoid waste. We are committed to expanding food access, affordability, and choice for all our customers.”

As the centerpiece of its ESG strategy, Kroger’s signature Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social and environmental impact plan emphasizes the unique role Kroger plays across the food system and its many stakeholders as an employer, food processor, retailer, healthcare provider and more. This month, Kroger is marking the fifth year of this signature initiative. To date, the company has directed 2.3 billion meals to communities, including $1 billion in charitable support and 500 million pounds of surplus fresh food rescued from Kroger stores to help end hunger.

Kroger’s 2022 ESG Report: Nurturing Shared Values and other resources can be found at the ESG Hub, ESG Strategy: Thriving Together.

ESG Action Plan Updates

In addition to Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, Kroger continues to make progress toward key goals and strengthen commitments in several areas, most notably in climate impact, packaging, human capital management, human rights and animal welfare.

“With this updated action plan, we are seeking to address a wide range of complex social and environmental challenges, and setting ambitious impact targets,” said Keith Dailey, Kroger’s group vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer. “These commitments express Kroger’s aspiration to make affordable fresh food even more accessible while advancing positive impacts for our communities and the planet. Our progress and commitments reflect our efforts to operationalize and integrate ESG performance into lines of business and develop a shared-value framework that creates positive outcomes for all stakeholders.”

To Learn More about Kroger ESG & Private Brand Initiatives us October 18-19 in Cincinnati for the Velocity Sustainability Summit. Juan De Paoli, Vice President of Our Brands, Kroger and Denise Osterhues, Senior Director, ESG – Sustainability & Social Impact, Kroger will present Kroger: Using Scope and Scale to Drive Sustainable Change

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Packaging

Kroger completed an initial packaging baseline assessment to establish a plan to achieve its 2030 sustainable packaging goals, which include 100% recyclable, reusable and/or compostable private brand packaging by 2030. The baseline focused on grocery and fresh food products, as well as health, beauty, household supplies and cleaning items. Baseline findings show that 40% of in-scope private brand product packaging meets the company’s definition of recyclable today when measured by weight.

Animal Welfare

Kroger updated its Animal Welfare Policy and shared a detailed Animal Welfare Update to outline progress to date and roadmaps for future milestones.

The company published specific milestones to achieve its goal to source 100% of fresh pork sold in retail stores from suppliers that house sows in group housing systems by 2025. Kroger also outlined plans to invest $45 million in additional pricing, promotions and agreements to support the transition to a cage-free or higher-welfare egg supply, with specific milestones to reach 70% cage-free by 2030.

Following an announcement earlier this year, Kroger has partnered with Kipster Farms, the innovative egg production system founded in The Netherlands, to bring the world’s first carbon-neutral, cage-free shell eggs to customers in the U.S. in 2023.

2021 Private Brand Highlights

  • Completed a comprehensive baseline product packaging footprint in 2022, finding that 40% of in-scope private brand product packaging is recyclable.
  • Sourced 16.9 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified ingredients for private brand products, up 4% from the prior year.
  • Sourced 94% of wild-caught seafood and 98% of farm-raised seafood in Kroger’s seafood department from fisheries and farms meeting the company’s seafood sustainability requirements.

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By Published On: September 14th, 2022Tags:

About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Velocity Institute. Prior to this he founded the groundbreaking site My Private Brand. He is the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He began his retail career building brands at Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Durham has worked with retailers around the world, including Albertsons, Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro Canada. Durham has published seven definitive books on private brands, including Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and Vanguard: Vintage Originals.

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