SB: What steps are taken to educate shoppers and get their buy-in to properly dispose of packaging? How are these efforts marketed to shoppers?
Long: We strive to continuously improve how we communicate recyclability to our customers. We are proud to share that by the end of this year, our customers will see standardized recycling communications on our own brands packaging and/or through our Smart Labels and other QR code systems. We have partnered with How2Recycle to leverage their labeling systems across various product categories to improve the reliability and transparency of recyclability claims. This will help customers know how to properly dispose of and recycle our own brand product packaging to help keep plastic out of landfills.
SB: Has Albertsons received any feedback or ideas from shoppers or employees related to sustainability?
Long: When we refreshed our materiality assessment in 2020, we engaged our customers and various internal stakeholders to learn more about what ESG topics they thought were most important for us to focus on. That feedback is part of what helped us determine our Recipe for Change focus areas. We’ve received a positive response from our associates, customers and vendor partners since announcing our Recipe for Change, and we look forward to sharing progress against our goals.
We know this is a growing area of interest and importance for our customers, associates, vendor partners and investors. We hope they will continue to stay engaged with us and our Recipe for Change progress so we can continue to be informed of topics that are most important to them.
SB: From a corporate perspective, what are some of the newest sustainability initiatives being implemented?
Long: One of our key commitments is to fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions by 2030 through science-based targets and achieving net zero emissions in our operations by 2040. We have several projects and initiatives already underway, and we’ve developed plans for other long-term strategies.
We were one of the first retailers in the country to use utility-grade wind turbines at our distribution center in Tracy, Calif. The two 1-mega-watt Mitsubishi wind turbines make a significant contribution to the power needs of our 1.9 million-square-foot distribution center located on 210 acres.
Also, we are purchasing utility-scale renewable energy, which helps to bring new clean energy operations online. We are investing in energy efficiency to reduce our electricity usage in our stores, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and offices. And our entire private truck fleet is certified by the EPA’s SmartWay program as we work to reduce our carbon footprint and advance supply chain sustainability and freight transportation efficiency.