Environmental Stewardship: Our Green Mission
Since we opened our first store in 1980, we've not only been passionate about healthy food, we’ve been passionate about a healthy planet. From team members who make things happen in their own local stores to executive leaders who have made historical decisions that put planet before profits, we’re always trying something new in green. We work on it every day.
Some of the Ways We Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Each of our hundreds of stores, facilities and offices do things a little differently. Here are examples of earth-friendly efforts we practice in some or all.
- Printing and packaging using recycled paper and water- or vegetable-based
- Composting to decrease landfill waste
- Carpooling and public transportation support for team members
- Flushless urinals and low-flow toilets
- No single-use plastic bags at checkout since 2008
- 100% post-consumer recycled-content paper bags
- Rain-water collection systems for non-consumable purposes
- Reusable grocery bags at affordable prices
- Reusable dishes and flatware in our dining areas
- Reclaimed wood, bricks and other materials in construction
- Recycling cardboard, paperboard, paper, glass, plastic and metal
- Collection bins for batteries, printer cartridges, cell phones, corks, plastic bags and toothbrushes
- Company and community recycling drives for electronics
- Supporter of Recycle Across America
- Zero Waste Business Council certification
As of 2018, we have 60 stores and facilities supplementing traditional supply with power from rooftop solar installations. More are in development, and some stores have battery storage installations.
We have more than 100 electric vehicle charging stations at our stores as of 2018, and are always adding more.
We’ve designed several stores that were used as case studies for sustainability. We are proud to have dozens and dozens of stores that have been or are in the process of Green Globes or LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Our Brooklyn, NY store achieved LEED platinum, Green Chill Platinum and Four Green Globes, and has solar, wind, a combined heat and power system and a state of the art refrigeration system, as well as a greenhouse on the roof!
In 2007 we joined the EPA’s GreenChill program as a founding partner. This program focuses on alternative refrigerants and strategic refrigeration system design to minimize refrigerants that deplete the ozone. As of 2018, dozens of our stores have GreenChill certifications. Our Dublin, CA store earned EPA’s Best of the Best in 2016 for its state-of-the-art refrigeration system.
A significant number of our individual stores’ Community Giving Days benefit nonprofit environmental organizations with a percent of store sales. In addition, team members often participate in local cleanups or regularly volunteer their time to nonprofits.
Product Sourcing and Packaging
We go to great lengths to source products using specific standards or purchasing guidelines which emphasize environmental health or include an environmental component:
- Responsibly Grown Produce and Flowers
- Eco-Scale® for Cleaning Products
- Sustainable Seafood
- Body Care Quality Standards
- Whole Trade®
- Palm Oil
Many of our stores offer bulk purchasing – as little or as much as you need – which reduces packaging and shipping weight. We are in the process of replacing traditional plastic and paper prepared-food containers with compostable fiber packaging made from renewable resources such as bagasse (made from sugar cane pulp and wood fibers). These are either unbleached (free from chlorine and dioxins) or lightened with non-elemental chlorine bleach, which does not have the same environmental detriments as industrial chlorine bleach.
Palm Oil Pledge
Whole Foods Market is concerned with the social and environmental impacts of palm oil production in tropical rainforest ecosystems around the world, and our company supports the protection of rainforests, communities and our global climate.
We are proud to report that 100% of Whole Foods Market’s 365 Everyday Value® brand food items containing palm oil, palm kernel oil, palm fruit oil and palm shortening are produced using Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified sustainable oil products. We are fulfilling this pledge through the purchase of Identity-Preserved, Segregated and Mass Balance palm oil.
We acknowledge that many stakeholders believe that the current RSPO standards do not adequately address the impact of palm production on peatlands, High Conservation Value Areas, High Carbon Stock forests, human rights, and the principle of free, prior and informed consent, and we are actively engaged in a multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to build on the RSPO standards by more deeply addressing these issues. Whole Foods Market calls on our peers in the food industry to join us.