Grocery stores have a huge impact on the environment, from the emissions and waste they produce to the packaging and food waste they generate. But many grocery stores are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and become more sustainable. Here are nine ways in which grocery stores around the world are embracing sustainability.
Eliminate plastic packaging: Grocery stores have more control over the packaging used in their own-brand products.
By switching to biodegradable options and omitting excess packaging wherever possible, they can significantly reduce plastic waste. Reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions also means eliminating inefficiencies in retail operations. Grocery stores must start by determining their current sustainability benchmark in order to identify excess emissions and waste. Retailers can rely on reduction cost curves that show the total cost of reducing different types of emissions to identify the most cost-effective and impactful reduction levers. Then, they can define concrete actions and include them in an implementation plan.
Typical levers for store operations involve optimizing the lighting, heating and cooling of the store. Logistic levers focus on the use of trucks and alternative fuels, while warehouse operating levers generally address insulation and cooling. Many grocery stores are also considering solar power generation. Advanced planning tools help optimize inventory levels while reducing food waste. E-commerce delivery and packaging are other typical areas of focus for improvement.
Create a meal plan: According to Feeding America, 108 billion pounds of food are wasted every year in the United States alone.
To eliminate food waste, create a meal plan to buy only what you need. Make a list before you buy and resist the impulse purchase of items that aren't included. Meal planning, buying only the quality ingredients you need, and cooking at home are strategic ways to shop and let you know exactly what your food contains.
Bring your own bags: More than 75% of the plastic created ends up in landfills and dirtying our oceans. Carrying your own reusable shopping bags on shopping trips is a simple solution to curb this enormous problem.
Take a few cloth or canvas bags to your supermarket or farmers' market to prevent those plastic bags from ending up as harmful waste.
Switch to plant-based diets: While plant-based diets are often associated with health benefits (and there are many), the environmental benefits are also abundant. According to a new study, plant-based diets reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost half, use nearly 30% less energy for production and have a 41.5% lower carbon footprint compared to meat-based diets.
Buy locally: Buying locally not only invests in your community, but it also significantly reduces your impact on the environment. Why? Local products are closer and more accessible, which translates to 26% fewer miles traveled by car. On top of that, the product is fresher and doesn't need chemical preservatives to prevent it from surviving a long trip to work.
Grocery management certification program: For companies trying to build or remodel a sustainable grocery store, or that plan to make existing stores more environmentally friendly, the grocery management certification program can help realize that vision.
Grocery stores have an immense influence on our environment due to their emissions, waste production, packaging, and food waste generation. Fortunately, many grocery stores are taking steps towards sustainability by implementing various strategies that reduce their environmental impact. Here are nine ways in which grocery stores around the world are becoming more eco-friendly: Eliminating plastic packaging: Grocery stores have control over their own-brand product packaging which allows them to switch to biodegradable options or omit excess packaging wherever possible. This helps reduce plastic waste as well as Scope 1 and 2 emissions from retail operations.
Retailers can use reduction cost curves that show the total cost of reducing different types of emissions in order to identify cost-effective reduction levers such as optimizing store lighting, heating/cooling systems, logistic operations (trucks/alternative fuels), warehouse insulation/cooling, solar power generation, advanced inventory planning tools, e-commerce delivery/packaging.
Creating meal plans: Meal planning is an effective way to reduce food waste as it allows you to buy only what you need with quality ingredients that you know exactly what they contain. Additionally, Feeding America reports that 108 billion pounds of food are wasted every year in the US alone.
Bringing your own bags: Reusable shopping bags help reduce plastic waste from ending up in landfills or oceans since 75% of plastic created ends up there.
Switching to plant-based diets: Plant-based diets not only provide health benefits but also environmental benefits such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by almost half with 30% less energy for production and 41.5% lower carbon footprint compared to meat-based diets.