On Tuesday, April 19, Manomet’s Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) announced that they have enrolled 500 stores 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, Pennsylvania.
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 will be the third chain to have all stores enrolled. Hannaford is also the first chain to use 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 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 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 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 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 they’re saving in cost and resource and future opportunities to maximize those savings.
“When we launched this grocery sustainability program four years ago, Manomet had high hopes for the effects that it could have for 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, diverted waste from landfills, and saved resources like water and energy. We’re excited for the next 500 stores!”