Students in Manomet Councilor Deb Harrison’s AP Environmental Science class at Noble and Greenough school in Dedham, Massachusetts are using the Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) as the basis for a lesson on environmental impact and business sustainability. Students visited several local supermarkets and walked through the public areas of the store to assess how the grocery stores could improve efficiency.
This is the third year that Harrison has used the GSC as a learning tool. “The authentic connection between student work and ‘real world’ environmental sustainability efforts is so powerful, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Manomet through the GSC,” said Harrison.
Students begin by considering every possible aspect of the environmental impact/ecological footprint of a grocery store and creating their own recommended sustainability guidelines. Harrison then shares a chart that she designed based off of the GSC framework and asks the students to explain the environmental impact of each feature (e.g. water or energy usage).
Here is a snippet of Deb Harrison’s lesson:
The students compile their findings from their store visits into a report, which shows an understanding of the many factors that grocery stores–and other retailers–must weigh as they implement more sustainable actions and policies in their stores. The reports and the data collected are submitted to GSC program manager Peter Cooke, along with a report card grade for each store.
Cooke shared with this year’s students, “An average-size store spends more than $200,000 annually in energy costs and results in 1,900 tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere—equivalent to the emissions from 360 vehicles in one year! One dollar in energy efficiency is equivalent to increasing sales by $18, so when you encourage your grocery store to make more sustainable choices, you are also helping them save money. I hope that as you shop at your neighborhood supermarket in the future that you take a moment to look at their systems and remember what you learned through the GSC. We can all do our part to convince those we do business with to help save our planet.”