Food retailers now have a comprehensive set of criteria to track their sustainability performance.
The non-profit institute Ratio has published its Food Retail Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting Standarda guide for companies to make specific operational changes while improving transparency with investors and other stakeholders.
Historically, food retailers have tracked ESG performance from various non-industry specific reporting frameworks, such as the Climate Disclosure Project and the Global Reporting Initiative, making it difficult for investors, suppliers, organizations not Government officials and buyers evaluate the company’s efforts, Santa Cruz, Calif., Ratio Institute said. The new standard organizes metrics across several well-established voluntary reporting frameworks into an easy-to-implement food retail-specific reporting approach.
As a result, the institute noted, companies can set ESG goals and define strategies to achieve those goals, while providing insights into operational improvements that increase profitability.
“Equipped with a systematic approach to evaluating their operations, food retailers can more easily set their baseline and identify changes needed for significant greenhouse gas emissions and other performance gains,” says Jonathan. Tan, co-founder of Ratio Institute. “This is a tremendous opportunity to raise the profile of the industry as a leader in sustainability. It is also a great profit opportunity for retailers and investors. Now investors can easily compare food retail companies to the best performing companies and make more informed investment decisions. »
The ESG reporting standard defines the key aspects of a quality ESG report and covers topics such as governance and risk management; greenhouse gas emissions; food safety; occupational health and safety; labour, human rights and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); and a sustainable supply chain and sourcing.
Several stakeholders have already signed on to Ratio Institute initiatives, including the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA), FMI-The Food Industry Association (FMI), and the National Retail Federation (NRF).
“IMF members strive to ensure that the same transparency and rigor that they bring to financial reporting is applied in their ESG reporting,” commented Andrew Harig, Vice President for Tax, Trade, sustainability and policy development at IMF, based in Arlington. , Go. “Ratio Institute has created a food retail-focused tool that can facilitate this process by providing a standardized framework for communicating metrics, best practices, commitments, and progress on increasingly important ESG goals. important to the grocery business model.”
Regional supermarket chains Raley’s and Weis Markets have also adopted the new ESG standard.
“This is an important first step in defining sustainability reporting in the grocery industry,” said Mark Koppang, director of sustainability at Raley’s Supermarkets, based in West Sacramento, Calif. “It allows companies to demonstrate their ESG commitment to their team members and customers. and improve the industry as a whole.
The Radio Institute, which is working with several retailers and cooperatives to adopt the standard, sought feedback from retailers, sustainability professionals, regulators and suppliers during a 60-day public comment period. The Institute offers consultancy missions, educational training and Sustainable Food Retail Certification Program to help retailers adopt the standard.