Manomet’s Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) program announced today that it has reached 500 stores enrolled in their sustainability certification program. Food retailers working with the GSC are responsible for saving more than 648,000 tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere and diverting 33,000 tons of waste from landfills. The 500th store enrolled is part of the Giant Eagle retail chain, headquartered out of Pittsburgh, PA.

Since launching in 2012, the GSC has worked with more than a dozen retailers in the United States and Canada. The GSC works with grocers to engage employees on operational sustainability strategies and to review store-level practices and equipment with an eye to increasing energy efficiency, boosting revenue and lowering costs. Two retail chains – Hannaford Supermarkets and Weis Markets – have enrolled all of their stores in the Grocery Stewardship Certification program; Giant Eagle hopes to be the third chain to have all stores enrolled.  Hannaford is also the first chain to use the GSC as a yearly tool to benchmark progress at all stores.

While there are a number of programs that focus on high performance buildings, Manomet’s GSC program is the only certification program to expand into employee practices and procedures to engage all stores within a chain.  “Weis Markets has used the Grocery Stewardship Certification program to engage with our employees in new ways and as a tool to show our customers that we are always looking to adopt new sustainable practices,” said Patti Olenick, sustainability director for Weis Markets.

Manomet’s GSC program helps grocers enhance their operational sustainability at the store level with a proven methodology that provides for consistency and accountability.  Using an online workbook developed by the GSC, store managers or otherwise designated staff are trained to assess, document, and implement sustainable practices, including energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction, and food waste diversion.

“Hannaford has found tremendous benefit from our work with the Grocery Stewardship Certification program,” said George Parmenter, Manager of Sustainability, Hannaford Supermarkets.  “Using the workbooks for the second time, we’ve found a number of areas where our staff and procedures have significantly improved. Through assessing our work, the GSC has helped us to quantify our sustainability efforts as saving us more than $23 million per year.”

The information that is collected from the GSC workbook is then reviewed and compiled by GSC staff to create a comprehensive sustainability report that corporate retail staff can use to learn which operational procedures are already saving money; how much money and resources are being saved and future opportunities to maximize those savings.  Each report contains approximately $20,000 per store of additional savings from operational sustainability.

“When we launched this grocery sustainability program four years ago, Manomet had high hopes for the impacts that it could have on retailers,” said Peter Cooke, program manager for the GSC. “We’ve exceeded our expectations; our program has worked with retailers across the U.S. to prevent greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere; divert waste from landfills; and to save resources like water and energy.  We’re excited for the next 500 stores!”

About the Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) program

Launched in 2012, Manomet’s GSC program is the nation’s first and only grocery sustainability certification program. Manomet is a sustainability non-profit whose mission is applying science and engaging people to sustain our world. The purpose of the GSC is to substantially reduce the environmental impacts (waste, water use, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions) of grocery stores, consumers, and entire supply ch