UNFI announced its science-based emissions reduction targets covering the organization’s operations and value chain have been validated and approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), making the company among the first North American wholesale grocery distributors to adopt these targets. A core element of UNFI’s 2030 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda, Better for All, is a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, waste, and make progress on other key ESG priorities.
“Climate change continues to pose a serious threat to our planet and UNFI is committed to taking bold action on environmental issues and investing in opportunities to reduce our emissions,” said UNFI Chief Executive Officer, Sandy Douglas. “Through adoption and pursuit of these science-based targets, UNFI is proud to help lead the North American wholesale and grocery distribution industry, and humbly recognizes the critical importance of coordinated and rapid decarbonization.”
UNFI’s emissions reduction targets1 approved by the SBTi are consistent with levels required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The three validated targets below are based on a fiscal 2020 emissions base year and fiscal 2030 emissions target year.
1. Reduce scope 1 and 3 heavy freight well-to-wheel GHG emissions from transportation by 38% on an intensity basis.
2. Reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions from all other emission sources by 50%.
UNFI’s fleet of over 2,000 owned and leased trucks makes 1.37 million deliveries to over 30,000 customer locations each year. These deliveries are facilitated through UNFI’s 56 distribution centers which represent approximately 30 million square feet of warehouse space. Together, distribution centers, retail, fleet, and all refrigerant emissions account for less than 5 percent of the Company’s total scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
Value chain target
3. Reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services by 25 percent.
UNFI purchases nearly 300,000 products from over 12,000 suppliers and growers, which account for around 90 percent of total scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. To promote reductions, UNFI created the Climate Action Hub to provide tools and resources, including opportunities for suppliers and vendors to learn from experts and each other, to innovate and scale climate solutions across the food system. Hub visitors will find resources such as a Climate Action Guide which provides tips on how to advance their own emissions reduction work.
“We are excited to take the next step in our emissions reduction journey by having our targets validated by SBTi, but we know we can’t accomplish these goals alone,” said Alisha Real, UNFI Director of Sustainability and Social Impact. “We take the need for business accountability in solving this global challenge seriously and look forward to engaging our value chain in these important efforts.”
“UNFI’s commitment to reducing their emissions, including their scope 3 emissions, sets a strong precedent in the food industry. By working in collaboration throughout their network of suppliers, UNFI is helping to activate and support much needed climate action,” said Courtney Pineau, Executive Director at The Climate Collaborative.