There are a significant number of opportunities at grocery stores to promote reductions in energy and water use; advance reduction, reuse, and recycling of various materials and wastes; improve management of storm water; and promote the sale and use of greener products. These measures can help mitigate greenhouse gases, conserve natural resources, create a healthier environment for employees and customers, and save money. According to a 2012 Food Marketing Institute study [PDF], a store's sustainability practices are an important factor for 50 percent of customers when they consider where to shop. Even as the economy recovers from the recent recession, 67 percent of consumers report that they are willing to pay more for organic products and look for locally-sourced products when shopping.
A number of NEWMOA's members have established or are in the process of creating sustainable or "green" business programs focused on grocery stores. In 2012, the NEWMOA launched a Regional Sustainable Grocers Initiative to promote more sustainable practices at grocery stores and recognize the efforts already underway at many stores and chains. A number of the large chains in the region, like Hannaford, Shaw's, and Stop and Shop operate in multiple states making an interstate approach to the sector sensible and efficient for state programs and grocers.
Given that most state sustainable grocery programs are in their formative and planning, NEWMOA's members are coordinating on planning this Regional Initiative. NEWMOA formed the Sustainable Grocers Workgroup in 2012 to share information and coordinate. The goals of the Regional Initiative are to:
The following strategies are being pursued:
This project is funded by EPA Regions 1 and 2 and the participating state programs.
For more information, contact Andy Bray at .