With nearly $600 billion in revenue and over 36,000 stores across the country, supermarkets constitute the largest and most impactful business sector when it comes to creating a future that is environmental sustainable and socially responsible. To help transform food retailers into sustainability champions, Manomet collaborated with a group of grocery store sustainability managers, government specialists, and nonprofit advocates and created the FRESH Coalition (an acronym that stands for Food Retailers for Sustainability, Efficiency and Health).
The formation of this group began in early 2017 when Manomet met with the Massachusetts Food Association (MFA) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England Office. All agreed that food retailers were engaged in many “random acts of greenness” but there was a clear lack of certainty and direction. Store managers were asking “What sustainable practices should I focus on and how do I know if I’m doing the right thing in the best way?”
To address this issue, Manomet helped to found the FRESH Coalition, which is now developing a compendium of sustainability best management practices (BMPs) that are vetted by a team of topic experts, including industry professionals and government program leads. The topics focus on sustainable materials management, energy efficiency, water conservation and regulatory compliance. Two BMPs that will be completed by September include recycling practices for thin plastic film and rigid plastic containers.
The BMPs will be published on a wiki format that allows contributors to update and expand the information as needed. The FRESH Coalition site will be formally launched later in 2017 and more plans are being made to develop other training materials for grocery store staff and managers. While Manomet’s Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) program already works directly with grocery stores to improve their sustainable business practices, the work with the FRESH Coalition is creating a free resource that can help and inspire all grocery stores reduce their environmental footprint.
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