Ahold announces sustainability goals

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Brittni Furrow, vice president of health and sustainability at Ahold Delhaize USA

Ahold Delhaize USA has updated its sustainability goals, formally unveiling a purpose-driven strategy that covers food waste, food transparency and climate action.

Some of the goals are the same as what the company has previously announced. Brittni Furrow, vice president of health and sustainability at Ahold Delhaize USA, for example, spoke exclusively with Store Brands last month regarding the company’s goal to have 54% of private brand food sales come from healthy products by 2025.

Additionally, the retailer said it would be partnering with Healthier America to increase healthier food options and it would institute the nutrition guidance system, Guiding Stars, to help consumers identify and understand the healthiest options on shelves, including its own brand products.

As for its transparency goals, Ahold Delhaize USA said it will expand its current progress to ensure sustainably sourced seafood, coffee and tea products are 100% sustainably certified in cocoa, palm oil, pulp, and paper products and packaging. All private brand products wil also have clear on-pack Bioengineered Food disclosure messaging, well ahead of the Federal Bioengineered labeling deadline of Jan. 1, 2022. Ahold Delhaize USA also maintains robust animal welfare guidelines, grounded in the five freedoms of animal welfare, including requirements for suppliers and issue statements on topics within animal welfare such as cage free eggs, animal testing, growth hormones and more.  

The company is also partnering with HowGood to bring customers an environmental and social impact rating system. HowGood analyzes each ingredient against environmental and social criteria, including farming practices, treatment of animals, labor conditions and chemical use. Any product that receives one, two or three leaves is one of the most sustainable products on the market. The more leaves a product has, the more sustainable it is, making it easy for customers to make informed choices when they shop. Giant Food, The Giant Company and Stop & Shop began to offer the rating system to customers shopping online this week.  

Ahold USA, Quincy, Mass., is the parent of Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford and Stop & Shop.

“The past year has truly been an unprecedented time for food retailers. But what has remained unchanged is our commitment to delivering for consumers whenever, wherever, however they want to shop,” said Kevin Holt, CEO of Ahold Delhaize USA. “Food — and how consumers shop for it — has far-reaching impact. As food retailers, we recognize that our role in food supply chain comes with great responsibility. Our expansive network means we can make a real and positive impact on local communities and our planet. That’s why we’ve committed to these goals — to hold ourselves accountable to the customers we serve and our world.”

Other areas of note in Ahold’s latest sustainability announcement:

Food Waste
Ahold’s sustainability goals include eliminating hunger and food waste, partnering with Feeding America affiliates to donate two billion meals through food rescue programs and donations. Ahold Delhaize USA’s retail network has more than 2,000 stores and distribution centers across more than 20 states, which enables the companies to make a meaningful impact on reducing waste and eliminating hunger in local communities.

The chain’s official goal is to reduce food waste by more than a third and by 2025 and by 50% by 2030  Ahold Delhaize USA will continue work toward Zero Waste by achieving 90% waste diversion. Additionally, by 2025, Ahold Delhaize USA will seek to reduce overall use of problematic single-use plastics. This includes making private brand products 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable and increasing recycled content by 25% by 2025. 

As a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize, Ahold Delhaize USA and its stores are signatories to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and move from single-use to reuse packaging models. 

Ahold is also participating in the Beyond the Bag initiative, and enhancing its supply chain to leverage better forecasting capabilities that will reduce waste by better predicting demand and supplying only the right amount of products to stores and e-commerce distribution points. 

Climate Action
Whether it’s through procuring and developing renewable energy, improving the energy efficiency of facilities, moving toward more climate-friendly refrigerants, further reducing refrigerant leaks or improving transportation and logistics efficiency, Ahold Delhaize USA companies are committed to reducing the absolute emissions from its business.

Last year, the company released science-based targets and time-bound goals for 2030 such as reducing carbon emissions by half from its own operations and working with suppliers to reduce emissions from the supply chain by 15%.