With more than 38,000 stores nationwide, the sustainability potential of the grocery sector in the United States is enormous. To make the grocery sector more sustainable, Manomet developed North America’s first and only grocery sustainability system in 2012. The Manomet Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) program works with grocery retailers to implement store-level sustainable operating practices. More than 1,000 grocery stores across North America are receiving actionable and comprehensive sustainability data from the GSC.
Manomet is pleased to announce that Catrina Damrell will now be leading the GSC program as Manomet’s Program Manager of Grocery Sustainability. Damrell, who was crucial in the development of the seven-year-old program, has played an essential role as the Field Manager for the GSC for the past 6.5 years. She has held numerous positions in the environmental realm, from working as a field technician studying the Bahaman Parrot on Abaco Island to on-site consulting for a carbon-neutral certification program for wineries in New Zealand. She is a U.S. Fulbright Fellow alumnus, receiving her scholarship in 2012 to teach English in Indonesia. During that formative experience, she also volunteered at a local environmental grassroots organization, and also designed and led a student-run film project on solid waste management affecting local beaches.
We asked Catrina a few questions about grocery store sustainability:
Manomet: Why does sustainability at a grocery store matter?
CD: There is a huge potential to engage grocery store companies which are such an important part of our broader global food supply chain. Customers are more loyal when they see grocery stores demonstrating their commitment to sustainability; employees get engaged and more productive when they learn how they can implement sustainability where they work; and the grocery stores save money, water, and energy and reduce waste by focusing on making their day-to-day operations more sustainable.
Manomet: Do you find that customers are interested in sustainability?
CD: Very much so. There have been multiple moments when customers have seen us come through the door, and then asked what we’re doing, and then asked to come along on the GSC walk-through to learn more about sustainability efforts in their grocery store. It just sig
Nielsen, which is a market research firm in Chicago, does an annual sustainability study on global consumers. Last year, in 2019, 81% of global consumers reported that it’s ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ important that companies implement programs to improve the environment. As more and more of the effects of climate change begin to amplify and affect all of us, I believe there’s going to be more and more pressure for our economy to shift onto activities that don’t contribute to climate change.
Americans go to the grocery store on average twice a week and spread their shopping across at least four different grocery companies. One third of customers are willing to pay more for brands that support sustainability. So there’s a lot of incentive for grocery companies to maintain customer loyalty by appealing to the broad majority of customers who are increasingly focused on sustainability.
Manomet: And what about the employees that you engage with? How have you seen their attitudes shift?
CD: This is definitely one of the most rewarding parts of my job. There was one store manager who had not heard or said the word sustainability before I came in to do the GSC training and then couldn’t wait to get home and share what she had learned with her daughter.
Another grocery store manager I worked with a couple of years ago was a bit skeptical of working with us and how sustainability could benefit his store. But by the end of the day, he came up to me and said that he really wanted to thank us for coming out because these are the things that he saw in his store every day. He now was looking at things in a totally different light, and was excited to share that with the rest of his team.
These are the stories that give me hope that we can engage so many more people in sustainability.
Manomet: Anything else that you’d like to add?
CD: Just that I look forward to keeping Manomet’s grocery sustainability work growing and developing new, creative partnerships.
Manomet’s GSC started in New England but now engages retailers in 21 states and Canada. Hannaford Supermarkets, Weis Markets, Associated Grocers of New England, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Whole Foods Market are just some of the retailers who are participating in Manomet’s grocery sustainability work.
- Get To Know Catrina Damrell, Our New Head Of The Grocery Sustainability Program
- Join the New England Grocery Earth Day Energy Challenge!
- Six additional Sprouts Farmers Markets receive Manomet’s Grocery Stewardship Certification
- Celebrating Earth Day 2019!
- Recognizing sustainable grocery stores in New Hampshire
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