Natural Grocers ESG Report Outlines Commitment to Sustainability

Colorado-based Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage recently released its environmental, social and governance (ESG) report for the 2022 fiscal year, showing they are on track to fulfill their environmental, economic, and social commitments as outlined in their “triple bottom line” of having a positive impact on the health of consumers, the environment, and the economies of the communities they serve.

The report emphasized the company’s support of regenerative agriculture, a farming approach which falls in step with the company’s strict product standards and unique founding principles. “We chose to focus on our commitment to regenerative agriculture in this year’s ESG report because we believe it is beneficial to the earth and an important practice with the potential to mitigate climate change,” explained Kemper Isely, Executive Co-president. “Regenerative agriculture is a reclamation of the best practices from the past, combined with current evidence-based research, to improve and renew the ecosystem and natural resources that are foundational to farming.”

The grocer offers many products that exemplify the philosophies and practices of regenerative agriculture, including 100% organic produce, 100% pasture-raised dairy, 100% free-range eggs, 100% humanely raised and sustainably sourced meats, 100% non-GMO bulk products. According to the report, more than half of all Natural Grocers’ product offerings store wide are organic, and the retailer maintains a list of “Things We Don’t Carry and Why,” readily available to customers in store and online, along with other details about it sustainability practices, like its ranking systems for eggs, meat and seafood.

In the ESG report, Natural Grocers also shared the impact of recent efforts to shrink its carbon footprint. A recently-opened store, for instance, features energy-saving carbon dioxide refrigeration systems. The retailer has also transitioned to automated ordering for most categories to reduce store waste and now sources 36% of its electricity from renewable sources. Highlighting their social impact, Natural Grocers reported 51% of store managers and 54% assistant store managers were women. The retailer noted its Store Manager Accelerator Readiness Training (SMART) program continues to elevate the importance of diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, abilities, and age in store management.

The report noted the retailer’s inclusion in Progressive Grocer’s 2022 Impact Awards. Natural Grocers won awards in two categories: security and nutrition leadership and workforce development and employee support. The full ESG report is available on the retailer’s website. NGVC operates more than 160 stores in 21 states. Founded in 1955, the natural and organic grocer is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 annual list of the leading food and consumables retailers in North America.