This article was originally published in Progressive Grocer on May 22, 2013. View the original article here.

More than 90 Hannaford Supermarkets stores have successfully enrolled in the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences’ new Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) system, the nonprofit center has revealed. The GSC is the first and only supermarket sustainability certification in the United States.

Massachusetts-based Manomet launched a pilot version of the program in September 2012, and to date, 93 Hannaford stores have achieved certification. “This is work we can be really proud of,” said George Parmenter, who’s in charge of corporate responsibility and sustainability at Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford, a Delhaize America banner. “This is the kind of thing you go home and tell the family about.”

The GSC helps supermarkets reduce their environmental footprint by dealing with energy consumption, water use, waste management, product sourcing and a range of other sustainability measures.

Manomet Program Manager Peter Cooke developed the GSC and tracks the resource and financial savings the program generates. According to Cooke, a 12-store district in the GSC would expect annual savings of 3.6 million gallons of water, 2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 12 million pounds of solid waste. The same 12-store district would lower greenhouse-gas emissions by 103 million pounds, he added.

“Hannaford stores are using the GSC program to provide context to employees on sustainability practices, [and] provide for accountability and consistent environmental performance at each store,” noted Cooke. “Grocery represents such an important business sector with regard to sustainability. The GSC provides a right-now assessment for these businesses and a mechanism to keep improving. The program will track large-scale environmental benefits as we scale up and spread to other companies and regions.”