SustainableGrocer.com has announced that Costco has won their 2009 Sustainable Grocer of the Year award. SustainableGrocer.com monitors sustainability practices within the food and grocery retail sector, and recognizes organizations which demonstrate responsible and verifiable steps towards more sustainable practices. Costco was chosen for this award by an anonymous panel of experts in the following fields: food, agriculture, retail, energy use, third party auditors, and sustainability practitioners.
Costco has been an industry leader in several areas that promote a sustainable business:
Efforts in energy reduction
- Wallet friendly shopping “Making It As Affordable As Possible”
- Substantial Organic Food Offerings
- Recycling programs, consumers and employees
- Private label principles, buying practices, packaging and value
- Geographic presence
- Corporate social responsibility
As anyone who shops at Costco knows, they have really been working hard to carry a larger variety of organic products over the last year or so. I think every time I go (which is pretty much weekly) they have a new organic option. Costco has been very successful in reducing packaging waste, as well, which is great for the environment too. Of course, it is also good for the consumer because it means you can actually get into your CDs and DVDs that you purchase from them. Costco has also teamed with Gazelle to offer electronics trade-ins for safe recycling.
In addition to their product changes, Costco has also been great about installing alternative energy system for several of their stores, in the form of solar panels. For instance, the solar array on their store in Kona, Hawaii is the largest solar panel installation in Hawaii. Costco has plans to install solar panel arrays on seven more stores within the next year. And apparently, they have reduced their carbon footprint even more by utilizing the most efficient trucks available for their delivery fleet.
It’s great to know that while we all get many benefits from Costco in the way of savings and quality products, the environment benefits too.