CINCINNATI, Ohio — The Kroger Co., one of America’s largest food retailers, has released an updated environmental, social and governance (ESG) action plan to support the company’s comprehensive ESG strategy and has published its annual ESG report.
“We live our purpose – feeding the human spirit – through Kroger’s commitments to advancing positive impacts for people and our planet and creating more resilient global systems,” said Rodney McMullen, president and CEO of Kroger. “We’re proud to report that Kroger continues to make progress toward key ESG goals. I’m especially proud of the Kroger team’s collective effort to create communities free of hunger and food waste. Through Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, Kroger has donated billions of meals to help end hunger and millions of pounds of excess fresh food to prevent waste We are committed to expanding food access, affordability and choice for all our clients.
As a centerpiece of its ESG strategy, the signature Zero Hunger | The Zero Waste Social and Environmental Impact Plan emphasizes the unique role Kroger plays in the food system and its many stakeholders as an employer, food processor, retailer, healthcare provider and more. This month, Kroger marks the fifth year of this landmark initiative. To date, the company has distributed 2.3 billion meals to communities, including $1 billion in charitable support and 500 million pounds of surplus fresh food collected from Kroger stores to help end hunger.
Kroger’s 2022 ESG Report: Nurturing Shared Values and other resources are available on the ESG hub, ESG Strategy: Prospering Together.
ESG action plan updates
In addition to Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, Kroger continues to make progress towards key goals and reinforce its commitments in several areas, including climate impact, packaging, human capital management, human rights and animal welfare.
“With this updated action plan, we seek to address a wide range of complex social and environmental challenges and set ambitious impact targets,” said Keith Dailey, vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer of Kroger. “These commitments express Kroger’s aspiration to make affordable fresh food even more accessible while advancing positive impacts for our communities and the planet. Our progress and commitments reflect our efforts to operationalize and embed ESG performance across industries. business and develop a shared value framework that creates positive outcomes for all stakeholders.”
Kroger has formally committed to setting a more aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target aligned with the requirements of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The company’s current target for 2030 is aligned with a climate scenario well below 2°C; however, given the urgency for greater climate action, the target will be strengthened to support a 1.5°C climate scenario. Kroger will also set a new Scope 3 target for reducing supply chain emissions as part of its SBTi commitment.
The company will share a detailed project roadmap to achieve the current GHG reduction target by the end of fiscal year 2022.
Kroger conducted an initial packaging baseline assessment to establish a plan to achieve its 2030 sustainable packaging goals, which include 100% recyclable, reusable and/or compostable Our Brands packaging by 2030. The baseline was focused on groceries and fresh food products, as well as health. , beauty, household items and cleaning items. Baseline results show that 40% of Our Brands’ in-scope product packaging meets the company’s definition of recyclable today when measured by weight.
Human capital management
The Kroger family of companies continues to provide accessible employment and economic advancement opportunities to more than 400,000 people across the United States. Kroger has invested an additional $1.2 billion in associate compensation and benefits since 2018, bringing the average hourly rate to over $17/hour and over $21. /hour when full benefits such as health care and pensions are included.
Kroger recently updated its human rights policy to align with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). The company is developing a comprehensive human rights due diligence framework and implementation roadmap aligned with the UNGPs. This work will continue through 2022. The company also recently launched its first human rights impact assessment.
Kroger has updated its animal welfare policy and shared a detailed animal welfare update to outline progress to date and roadmaps for future steps.
The company released specific milestones to achieve its goal of sourcing 100% fresh pork sold in retail stores from suppliers who house sows in group housing systems by 2025. Kroger also presented plans to invest $45 million in additional prizes, promotions and agreements to support the transition to a cage-free or higher welfare egg supply, with specific milestones to reach 70% cage-free by 2030 .
Following an announcement earlier this year, Kroger has partnered with Kipster Farms, the innovative Dutch-founded egg farming system, to bring the first carbon-neutral, cage-free shell eggs to the United States. in the world in 2023.
People: help billions of people adopt healthier and more sustainable lifestyles
- Increased the average wage for hourly store associates to over $17, bringing the rate to over $22 per hour when full benefits are included.
- Channeled $343 million in charitable donations, including food and funds, to local and national nonprofits; of this amount, $210 million was dedicated to improving food security in the communities where we operate, reflecting Zero Hunger | Zero Waste mission.
- Directed 546 million meals to communities in the form of food and funds in 2021, including 94 million pounds of surplus food donated through Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero waste food rescue program. Since the introduction of Zero Hunger | Zero waste five years ago, the company directed a total of 2.3 billion meals to communities towards its goal of 3 billion meals by 2025.
- Delivery of 1.1 million dietitian-approved meals to vulnerable populations.
- Conducted research on how retailers can serve as important healthcare destinations, leveraging food and nutrition education to support shoppers and help them make healthy food purchases, which resulted in a groundbreaking randomized controlled trial to improve diet quality and reduce cardiovascular risk by promoting heart healthy diets through nutritional counseling from a registered dietitian.
- Supported healthier lifestyles by offering a wide range of diet-aligned, better-for-you food options in retail stores and a seamless experience, including our integrated OptUP app with nutritional ratings on thousands of items.
- Increased access to fresh, affordable food for customers in existing and new geographies through the expansion of the Kroger Seamless Ecosystem and Kroger Delivery Network.
Planet: Protecting and restoring natural resources for a better future
- Cumulative reduction of 9.1% in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to 2018.
- Installation of infrared refrigerant leak detection technology in 2,000 retail stores to date, to further reduce emissions.
- Reduced total food waste generated in retail stores by 18.9% and improved food waste diversion rate by 21.7% since 2017.
- Completion of a comprehensive benchmark footprint of product packaging in 2022, finding that 40% of Our Brands product packaging in scope is recyclable.
- Sourcing 16.9 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified™ ingredients for Our Brands products, up 4% from the prior year.
- Obtained 94% of wild-caught seafood and 98% of farmed seafood in Kroger’s seafood department from fisheries and farms that meet the company’s seafood sustainability requirements.
Systems: Building more accountable and inclusive global systems
- Continued to operationalize the company’s ESG strategy by embedding ownership and accountability for ESG objectives across business lines.
- Increased diversity and breadth of expertise on Kroger’s Board of Directors and clarified board committee oversight on ESG topics.
- Spent $4 billion with diverse vendors and welcomed 230 new vendors from diverse owners in 2021, a 115% increase over the prior year, reflecting over $500 million in additional spend.
- Provide in-depth training to associates on key governance topics, including business ethics and compliance; privacy; cyber security; food safety; diversity, equity and inclusion; and personal safety.
- Secured Kroger’s $45 million investment in pricing, promotions and supplier agreements to achieve a sustainable transition to a cage-free or higher welfare egg supply, with specific steps to reach 70% cage-free by 2030.