United Natural Foods, Inc. Commits to Aggressive 10-Year Targets in Waste Reduction, Climate Action, and Food Access

Mon. January 11th, 2021 - by Anne Allen

PROVIDENCE, RI - The time to take action in regards to climate and sustainability initiatives is now, and United Natural Foods, Inc. is stepping up to the plate. The wholesaler recently released its 2020 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, highlighting its commitment to finding solutions to global, social, and environmental issues. In the report, UNFI showcases where it found success in 2020 and outlines its data-driven 2030 goals that are meant to accelerate positive and critical change in this decade.

Steven L. Spinner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, United Natural Foods, Inc.“As pioneers in our industry since 1976, leading by example on pressing social and environmental issues is both part of our DNA and our inherent responsibility,” said Steven L. Spinner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “UNFI made great strides in building our wholesale, services, and brands business in 2020, while putting a heightened focus on issues such as the safety and wellbeing of our associates and the communities we serve. As we look to the future, we now have an exciting plan to pursue real solutions for climate change, food justice and insecurity, as well as diversity and inclusion. We view ourselves as a force for positive change, helping to define the future of food.”

According to a press release, UNFI’s 2030 agenda is centered on the theme Better for All, which is aligned to three pillars: Building Better for Our World, Our Communities, and Our People. Better for All acts as an umbrella platform to share updates on its ESG progress in the months and years ahead.

United Natural Foods, Inc. recently released its 2020 Enivronmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report outlining its data-driven goals for 2030

The report noted the areas in which UNFI will focus: climate action, waste reduction, food safety, food access, safety and wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion. To ensure progress against each of these areas, UNFI has established several consequential goals and commitments, including:

  • Establish science-based emissions reduction targets covering operational and value chain emissions (scopes 1, 2, and 3) by 2022
  • 20 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2023
  • 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2025
  • Zero waste to landfill from distribution center operations by 2030
  • 30 percent reduction in distribution center energy intensity by 2030
  • Donate 250 million pounds of food, equivalent to approximately 208 million meals by 2030
  • Log 200,000 associate volunteer hours by 2030

The goals made throughout 2020 have been:

  • Adopted robust, award-winning safety measures to continue to protect our frontline associates during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Piloted its first all-electric solar powered refrigerated trailer with an eye toward further expansion
  • Announced new Paid Parental Leave benefits
  • Improved its CDP Climate Change response score to an A- through enhanced disclosures and actions to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks, and further the low-carbon economy
  • Achieved a 7 percent year-over-year improvement in food waste diverted from landfills
  • Delivered 23 million pounds of donated food, equivalent to roughly 19 million meals

Alisha Real, Director of Sustainability and Social Impact, United Natural Foods, Inc.“2020 was a pivotal year for ESG at UNFI. We completed a robust strategic planning process and significantly deepened our focus on key priorities,” said Alisha Real, Director of Sustainability and Social Impact. “The steps we will take over the next decade are critical to ensuring a future that is Better for All. UNFI impacts the lives of millions of people throughout North America, and we are dedicated to taking meaningful action by activating our 27,000 associates, 15,000 customers, and more than 11,000 suppliers to accelerate progress toward achieving our near-term and 2030 commitments to transform the foodscape and our world.”

As more members of the buy-side continue to deliver solutions for the future, AndNowUKnow will be here to report.

United Natural Foods, Inc.