Ratio Institute Releases Environmental, Social and Governance Guide

Santa Cruz, California-based Ratio Institute has debuted their Food Retail Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting standard – essentially a guide for retailers to make and maintain operational changes, if desired, while decreasing any ambiguity for investors and the like.

Ratio Institute is a nonprofit and their ESG is a set of criteria to track to track and define retailers’ sustainability via governance and risk management, greenhouse gas emissions, food safety, occupational health and safety, labor, human rights and diversity, equity and inclusion, and sustainable supply chain and sourcing.

“Equipped with a systematic approach to grade their operations, food retailers can more easily define their baseline and identify the changes necessary for large greenhouse gas emissions and other performance gains,” says Jonathan Tan, Co-founder of Ratio Institute. “This is a huge opportunity to raise the industry’s profile as a sustainability leader. It is also a big profit opportunity for both retailers and investors. Now, investors can easily compare food retail companies against best-in-class performers and make better-informed investment decisions.”

Previously, food retailers have kept track of ESG performance from a group of various reporting organizations such as the Climate Disclosure Project, making it difficult to assess retailers’ efforts and establish or adjust goals, when needed.

The Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) and the FMI-The Food Industry Association (FMI) are engaged with the Ratio Institute’s program, as well as Northern California grocery chain, Raley’s. 

“This is a great first step in defining sustainability reporting in the grocery industry,” stated Mark Koppang, Director of Sustainability at Raley’s Supermarkets, based in West Sacramento, Calif. “It enables companies to demonstrate their ESG commitment to their team members and customers and improve the industry overall.”

Ratio Institute is currently working with several more retailers and co-ops, to implement the standard. Additionally, they are asking for feedback from retailers, sustainability specialists, and vendors during a 60-day public comment period.  To aid in in adopting the standard, the institute offers educational training, consulting, and their Sustainable Food Retail Certification program to help grocers apply the standard.