Sunday, August 9, 2009

Whole Foods Sets Good Example

While we are on the lookout for poor environmental stewards, we're not afraid to point out the good Samaritans as well. Whole Foods has set its sights on being the eco-friendly food market, and I believe they are doing as fine a job as any (though there's still room for improvement, of course).

Lets start with the environmental segment of their Declaration of Interdependence (catchy huh?).
We see the necessity of active environmental stewardship so that the earth continues to flourish for generations to come. We seek to balance our needs with the needs of the rest of the planet through the following actions:
Supporting sustainable agriculture. We are committed to greater production of organically and biodynamically grown foods in order to reduce pesticide use and promote soil conservation.
Reducing waste and consumption of non-renewable resources. We promote and participate in recycling programs in our communities. We are committed to re-usable packaging, reduced packaging, and water and energy conservation.
Encouraging environmentally sound cleaning and store maintenance programs.
Sounds good, me like. And the highlights thus far:
  • The first major retailer to offset 100% of grid energy use with wind energy credits.
  • Reduce grid energy use with efficiency upgrades saving more than 15 million kWh annually and planned solar panels installations at ~70 stores (1/4 of total stores).
  • Tracking GHS emissions, including refrigerant leaks and truck emissions.
  • Implementing paperless ordering systems to reduce paper waste.
  • Supporting carpooling and public transportation for employees.
  • Using biodegradable supplies for food and wine sampling.
  • Composting, which has reduced landfill waste by up to 75% in some regions.
  • Banning plastic grocery bags and encouraging use of reusable bags.
  • Implementing the use of reusable and biodegradable plates and bowls in dining areas.
  • Saving packing peanuts and donating them to local shipping stores.
  • Working with suppliers to eliminate Styrofoam use in shipping.
  • Replacing disposable batteries with rechargeable ones.
  • Holding company and community recycling drives for electronics.
  • Using recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer waste whenever possible.
  • Providing receptacles for glass and plastic recycling in our dining areas along with collection boxes in many stores for cell phones and ink jet cartridges.
  • Adopting LEED building standards.
  • Pledge to support the development of more sources of sustainable, fairly traded palm oil, to ensure that palm oil in the WF private label brand products are not sourced from the conversion of rainforest ecosystems or from companies engaged in the conversion of natural forests and/or peat lands.
  • Promoting organic agriculture
  • Gradually converting our truck fleet to biodiesel fuels
  • Truck fleet is being fitted with aerodynamic aprons to cut down on wind resistance resulting in less fuel consumption.
  • Some stores converted to flush-less urinals; each will save approximately 40,000 gallons of water per year (average use).
  • The WF Earth Month Initiative