Kroger to Adopt Deforestation Policy for Private Brands

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the U.S., will develop and implement a no-deforestation policy. This new commitment will cover Kroger’s private brand products announced Green Century.

“Kroger prides itself on ‘nourishing our communities and preserving our planet’ and, as one of the largest retailers in the world, this new commitment certainly will help preserve the world’s forests,” said Green Century Shareholder Advocate Jessye Waxman. “By listening to our concerns about deforestation risks in its supply chain and agreeing to implement a no-deforestation policy, Kroger is making real progress on this important and material sustainability issue.”

Lisa Zwack, Kroger’s head of sustainability

“Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste plan reflects Kroger’s commitment to help conserve the natural resources we all share,” said Lisa Zwack, Kroger’s head of sustainability. “As our current sustainability goals near their 2020 timeline, we are shaping new long-term targets that extend our zero-waste approach. We are committed to meaningful stakeholder engagement, and we appreciate Green Century’s dialogue and feedback during this process.”

In 2019, Kroger will assess its exposure to deforestation and use those findings to inform the development of its no-deforestation commitments. Moving forward, Kroger will also share progress on its commitments to address deforestation in its annual Sustainability Report, by joining the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and by completing the CDP Forests questionnaire.

“Kroger is a giant company with an immense supply chain, so this new commitment is a big deal,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “I’m pleased that Kroger listened to our concerns and is committing to improving its protection of tropical forests.”

Green Century was lead on the deforestation resolution filed with Kroger, and worked with Seventh Generation Interfaith and two co-filers, the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province, on the engagement.

The conversion of tropical forests to agricultural plantations is the primary cause of deforestation, which is a leading contributor to climate change. Forest destruction contributes nearly the same amount of global greenhouse-gas emissions as the entire transportation sector. Deforestation also poses a risk to the preservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of healthy ecosystems.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.