Albertsons, part of the nationwide Supervalu® family of grocery stores, has received the 2011 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) for their two “zero waste” stores in Santa Barbara. Among this year’s 15 winners, Albertsons is the only supermarket retailer to receive this distinction. Supervalu Vice President of Facilities, Engineering, Energy Environmental and Asset Management Mark Coffin, along with Director of Sustainability Rick Crandall and Santa Barbara Store Directors Stan Martinez and Dan Dempsey were on hand to accept the award from Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. at a ceremony held last night, December 13, at the California State Capitol.
“Albertsons is a true leader,” said Secretary for Environmental Protection Matt Rodriguez. “They prove that you can support and promote environmental values without sacrificing your business objectives. They understand that going green can be a successful economic strategy that can also lead to sustainable growth and development.”
GEELA is California’s highest environmental honor. The program recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership for voluntary achievements in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, and building public-private partnerships.
Award recipients are chosen in 12 different categories based upon their strength in eight specific areas including results, transferability, environmental impact, resource conservation, economic progress, innovation and uniqueness, pollution prevention, and environmental justice.
“The GEELA is a prestigious honor that we are very proud to receive,” emphasized Sue Klug, president of Albertsons Southern California Division. “Last year’s achievement of being the first traditional supermarket retailer to reach zero waste classification was a great milestone for us. It is also a springboard for an even more aggressive commitment to sustainability at Albertsons AND Supervalu moving forward.”
Albertsons was specifically recognized for its achievements at two stores located at 3943 State Street at La Cumbre Road and 2010 Cliff Drive at Meigs Street in Santa Barbara. Through a combination of innovative recycling programs, a food donation program and a joint organic composting partnership with the City of Santa Barbara, these stores divert all non- contaminated waste from landfills and incinerators. In total, over 95% of all waste products from both stores are recycled, reused or composted – exceeding the 90% threshold commonly recognized as “zero waste.”
Combined, the stores divert annually an average of over 2,074,000 pounds of waste from the landfill, including over 808,000 pounds of cardboard, over 27,000 pounds of plastic and over 2,600 pounds of paper. Additionally, through Albertsons Fresh Rescue Program, these two stores donate on average almost 150,000 pounds per year of product to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, the equivalent of 125,000 meals.
Not long after the two Santa Barbara stores reached “zero waste” classification, Albertsons Carpinteria store – less than 15 miles away – embarked on a “bagless” initiative, moving stores and customers to the use environmentally friendly reusable bags. The Carpinteria store is also scheduled to introduce the nation’s first low-carbon, ammonia refrigeration system in 2012, a commitment highlighted by Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert during his recent attendance at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge event held at the White House with President Obama on Dec. 2.
Supervalu, in large part through its Albertsons stores, has committed to transitioning a total of 40 stores to zero waste during its current fiscal year, which ends February 29, 2012. Albertsons expects to help drive an even more aggressive goal for the company next year as it continues its focus on initiatives that are good for the environment, good for its communities and good for its overall business.
Albertsons is part of the Supervalu family of grocery stores. Albertsons was founded in 1939 and currently operates 447 Albertsons and Lucky supermarkets in Southern California, Southern Nevada, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. For more information about Albertsons, visit our website at www.albertsons.com
Supervalu Inc. is one of the largest companies in the U.S. grocery channel with estimated annual sales of $38 billion. Supervalu serves customers across the United States through a network of approximately 4,270 stores composed of approximately 1,160 traditional retail stores, including 820 in-store pharmacies; 1,190 hard-discount stores, of which 870 are operated by licensee owners; and 1,920 independent sores services primarily by the company’s traditional food distribution business. Supervalu has approximately 154,000 employees. For more information about Supervalu visit www.Supervalu.com.