In June, Sprouts Farmers Market released its 2022 ESG Report, an annual recap of the company’s efforts across the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) spectrum in the previous year. The report prefaced by Sprouts CEO Jack Sinclair. In his letter, Sinclair noted that the company strives do the right thing by customers, employees, vendors, communities, and the environment. “We do not believe in sacrificing one for any other, and the success we saw in 2022 is a demonstration of this philosophy in action,” Sinclair wrote. According to the report for 2022, the company focused on sustainable and responsible product sourcing, waste and hunger elimination, and carbon footprint and plastics reduction. Sprouts has partnered with third-party advisors for the past few years to fulfill its commitments. These advisors connected with stakeholders on matters including Sprouts’ leadership, crew members, investors, product suppliers, sustainability, and education. The advisors did in-depth interviews with stakeholders to decipher the most pertinent topics for Sprouts.
“Our success is rooted in our philosophy of ‘doing well by doing good’ which underscores the importance of operating our business in a way that demonstrates care for our team members, customers, communities, vendor partners, and the planet,” said Brandon Lombardi, chief sustainability officer of Sprouts Farmers Market.
Under the Environmental category that includes sustainable product sourcing, climate impact, renewable energies and plastics and packaging waste reduction, the report showed that 26% of products sold at Sprouts were organic and that plant-based alternatives sales grew 21%. The natural products retailer sold $3.2 billion in products with a social or environmental support attribute. Sprouts also shared the company completed scope 3 carbon emissions assessment and earned EPG GreenChill certifications for 55 stores. The retailer donated 32 million pounds of food in 2022, nearly half of which was fresh produce, and attained an 87% food recovery rate and a 69% landfill diversion rate. As for reduction in packaging waste, the report pointed out that 100% of bags used at checkout stand will be reusable by the end of 2023 and that 2.5 million meat trays were switched to recyclable #1 PET in 2022. The company also made progress in the social category, including nutrition and health, diversity, equity and inclusion, human capital development, community impact, safety, and well-being. According to the retailer, 77% of employees promoted last year were female and/or ethnically or racially diverse. Also in this area, $200 million in product sales were attributed to minority and women-owned suppliers. In efforts to serve communities within its impact areas, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation gave $3.2 million to school programs pertaining to gardening and nutrition and gathered 400 educators for an inaugural nationwide school gardening summit. The report also highlighted governance achievements, like conducting a human rights risk assessment and establishing an ethics hotline for anonymous reporting of concerns. Emphasizing the board and executive leadership support of ESG principles, Sprouts noted that 88% of its board members are independent and 38% are female or racially or ethnically diverse.
“I’m proud to share the strong progress we made in our ESG initiatives over the past year. Our success is rooted in our philosophy of ‘doing well by doing good’ which underscores the importance of operating our business in a way that demonstrates care for our team members, customers, communities, vendor partners, and the planet,” said Brandon Lombardi, chief sustainability officer. Lombardi also noted that Sprouts received a AAA classification from Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and was named a “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporation in the World” by the sustainable economy publication Corporate Knights. Sprouts, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, has approximately 31,000 employees working in more than 380 stores across 23 states in the U.S.