UNFI Announces 2019 Social and Environmental Sustainability Report
PROVIDENCE, RI - The grocery distribution behemoth, United Natural Foods Inc (UNFI), recently released its 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. The report, now in its ninth annual edition, reflects a comprehensive summary of the company’s progress on its social and environmental commitments. A key highlight of the report includes the creation of more than 140,000 acres of new organic farmland through the UNFI Foundation grants.
“UNFI has a long tradition of doing the right thing, giving back, and operating our business in a way that minimizes our environmental footprint. As we grow, we remain committed to being good stewards of our planet, our communities, and our people,” said Steven L. Spinner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are particularly concerned about the effects of climate change and are actively working to evaluate and mitigate our climate impact. More than ever, I’m proud of the difference we’ve made on all fronts. Not only are we changing the face of grocery distribution, we continue to use our scale for better.”
According to a press release, the report was developed using two of the leading sustainability reporting frameworks as a reference: SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) and GRI (Global Reporting Initiative). Highlights were provided under three pillars:
Better for the World
- Generated 5,745 MWh in on-site solar energy, equivalent to CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 688 U.S. homes for one year.
- Earned Management level score (B) for our 2019 disclosure to CDP Climate Change, reflecting an increased focus on evaluating the environmental impacts of our supply chain and a higher level of oversight of sustainability topics.
- Expanded the Ridgefield, WA distribution center by 541,000 square feet, using green building practices. This update is expected to reduce energy usage by 54 percent and capture 90 percent of rainfall at that facility.
Better for Communities
- Awarded more than $1 million through the UNFI Foundation to nonprofits across the U.S. to support the mission of building better food systems and nurturing everyday health.
- Spent $956 million with more than 1,200 women and minority-owned business, including direct and indirect spend with partners in merchandising, products, goods, and services.
- Donated 33 million+ pounds of food–the equivalent of nearly 28 million meals.
- Supported the creation of more than 140,000 acres of new organic farmland through UNFI Foundation grants.
Better for People
- Renewed focus on safety puts the well-being of associates at the forefront of everything we do.
- Launched new wellness program for associates with tools and resources to encourage healthy habits, like getting enough sleep, being active, and eating healthy.
- Launched new volunteering and giving portal, making it easier for associates to join us in giving back.
- Created a new recognition program, encouraging associates to celebrate great work every day.
“We believe better food can only come from a healthy planet, and we’re focused on doing our part so that future generations have access to clean air and water, and a safe and nutritious food supply,” said Alisha Real, Senior Sustainability Manager and Executive Director of the UNFI Foundation.
Looking ahead, UNFI is conducting a materiality assessment to prioritize social and environmental issues of key concern to the business and its stakeholders, which will further inform the company’s future sustainability commitments and initiatives. The results of this strategy work will be shared in UNFI’s 2020 report. The full 2019 UNFI Corporate Social Responsibility Report is available online here.
Here’s to another year of innovation in fresh produce!