Sustainability & Social Responsibility

Responsibility, Sustainability & Community

At Jewel-Osco, taking care of our neighbors and the communities in which we operate means a great deal. That philosophy extends far beyond the city limits and state lines of our operating areas. We know that it’s not just about living here – it’s about making responsible choices and decisions, and offering what our customers want.  It’s a simple philosophy, and it works.

Our Journey To Eliminate Landfill Waste (Zero Waste)

In 2007, our environmental team began an in-depth analysis of the waste stream from our grocery stores. This work would kick off a chain of events that is now fundamentally redefining our company’s culture and accelerating its focus on waste reduction.

Over the past two years, our company’s recycling income has exceeded landfill hauling expenses. Store directors and managers are encouraged to “know their garbage” and maximize participation in all available recycling programs. Stores have found that by changing daily “throw away” behavior, 90 percent or more of the “waste” from our store can be reused, recycled or donated to food banks to feed people and our soils.

Expanding our zero waste culture has also catalyzed success stories in other areas. We are eliminating unrecyclable materials from our supply chain and transport packaging; we’re internally adopting zero waste policies for energy and water; most importantly we believe that what we waste determines what we value. At Jewel-Osco, we believe in placing value on everything possible and wasting nothing. We encourage our customers to join us on our journey to eliminate landfill waste. 

Energy and Water Conservation

Each year, Jewel-Osco invests substantial financial capital into energy conservation projects, with the overall strategy of identifying solutions that can be efficiently applied across multiple stores. Last year, many of these energy conservation projects focused on relighting our stores with more efficient LED and low-wattage lighting technology. Additional projects focused on installing more efficient lighting in our refrigeration cases and utilizing proven energy saving technology.

Water consumption is another growing concern for businesses, local governments, and communities across the U.S. As an environmental steward, Jewel-Osco is planning efforts in fiscal year 2012 to reduce overall water consumption by analyzing investments in new technology and increasing associate awareness on water conservation.

Commitment to Sustainable Seafood

Jewel-Osco is committed to the important issue of seafood sustainability. Jewel-Osco began a partnership with World Wildlife Fund® – a leading global conservation organization – in early 2010 to assess our seafood supply and develop ways to improve the sustainability of our seafood buying practices and standards.

To further expand this commitment, Jewel-Osco announced its commitment to source 100 percent of its top-twenty wild-caught seafood products from sustainable fisheries or those on a clear pathway to sustainability by 2015. Specifically, these products will be certified from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries, in full assessment, or involved in a Fishery Improvement Project with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) by 2015.

Additionally, Jewel-Osco has entered into a partnership with the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) to implement a new, comprehensive procurement policy to ensure sustainable sourcing of farm-raised seafood. Additionally, six specific seafood items have been discontinued at Jewel-Osco: orange roughy, shark, monk, bluefin tuna, skates, and hoki.

Fostering a Culture of Sustainability

Expanding employee awareness and creating desire for change are the key ingredients to the success of any sustainability program. As sustainability becomes more relevant to all aspects of business operations, Jewel-Osco has recognized this shift by expanding the team responsible for executing our sustainability strategy. Moreover, this team has worked diligently to educate our stores on the ways in which they can become more environmentally conscious while also reducing waste from our operations.

As Jewel-Osco moves toward creating higher efficiencies and lowering expenses through waste elimination in all its forms, opportunities arise. Food banks will continue to benefit from fresh food rescue; farmers will take advantage of food waste diversion and composting operations; landfills will become less burdened with waste; new technology and programs will reduce store energy consumption and power bills; packaging will be more efficiently designed with industrial and biological cycle reuse in mind; and economies of scale will make healthier food more accessible to lower income customers.

Increasing Usage of Reusable Bags

Jewel-Osco has consistently worked to expand our reusable bag program and offer customers an affordable and environmentally conscious solution as an alternative to traditional paper or plastic bags.

Jewel-Osco Reusable Bag Program objectives:

  • Increase our customer’s use of reusable bags by offering a variety of fresh designs and green solutions to paper and plastic bags
  • Maximize the use of recycled content in the production of our bags
  • Ensure the safety of our bags by implementing more stringent requirements for toxin testing
  • Expand bag merchandising locations within the store to drive additional purchases
  • Reduce reusable bag costs
  • Identify solutions for stores impacted by plastic bag ban legislation

Jewel-Osco encourages our employees to choose to reuse!