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02/23/2022

Whole Foods shares first ever Social Impact Update

The Amazon-owned grocery chain has released its inaugural Social Impact Update to shed light on what the company accomplished in 2021.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Whole Foods Market has released its inaugural Social Impact Update to give consumers a look into the company’s ESG (environmental, social, governance) initiatives. 

First covered by Store Brands’ sister publication Progressive Grocer, Whole Foods outlined five key initiatives it’s taking towards environmental stewardship, responsible sourcing, and community objectives.

• 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.

“While we’ve accomplished a lot in 2021, I hope you will see that taking care of our team members and customers, as well as our local communities and the environment, is essential to our mission and will never change,” said Whole Foods co-founder and chairman John Mackey in the update. “From innovative responsible sourcing programs and rigorous quality standards to philanthropic efforts and supplier partnerships, Whole Foods Market aspires to drive lasting impact that challenges the expectations of any grocer.”

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 through the Local Producer Loan Program to small-scale, local or emerging producers.

Whole Foods also 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 Earth’s request to expand organic offerings to 15% of overall sales by 2025.

“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.

Whole Foods operates over 500 locations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company ranked 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, came in second on PG’s list.

The full Social Impact Update can be found here.