Responsible Sourcing

Given our scope and scale as a grocery retailer, we are committed to reducing the social and environmental impacts in our supply chain by using responsible sourcing practices. In fact, our stakeholders have signaled this as one of the most material sustainability topics for Kroger. The goals of our responsible sourcing program are to mitigate risks and negative impacts and to drive positive change.

Our Responsible Sourcing Framework summarizes our policies and commitments.

Review our 2020 Sustainability Goals pertaining to responsible sourcing.

To read a detailed description of our management approach to Responsible Sourcing, visit our 2019 ESG Report.

Kroger Vendor Code of Conduct

Our customers trust that the products we bring to market are sourced from reputable suppliers who provide safe and fair working conditions for their workers. We share this concern for human rights, as articulated in our Statement on Human Rights. All suppliers that provide products for our company, including Our Brands products, must maintain safe and fair working environments for their workers at these facilities and meet all other requirements of our Vendor Code of Conduct. We have a Zero Tolerance policy for human rights violations like child and forced labor, discrimination and bribery. If suppliers (or their suppliers) do not live up to our Code, we will not do business with them.

As discussed in detail in our 2019 ESG Report, Kroger validates and confirms the expectations outlined in our Code of Conduct through onsite Kroger Social Compliance Audits.

Animal Welfare Requirements

As articulated in our Animal Welfare Policy, Kroger has a long-standing commitment to responsible business practices, including the humane treatment of animals. We require our suppliers to adopt industry-accepted animal welfare standards that we endorse for beef, pork, chicken, turkey and eggs, and we monitor our suppliers for compliance with these standards.

Holstein Cow
Animal welfare requirements for dairy

Kroger requires 100% of milk and dairy product suppliers supplying our dairy processing plants and grocery assortment be enrolled in The National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management™.

Sow gestation crate-free housing
Sow gestation crate-free housing

Our goal is to source 100% of fresh pork from suppliers who have transitioned away from gestation crates by 2025.

Cage-free eggs
Cage-free eggs

We established a goal to transition to a 100% cage-free egg supply chain by 2025.

Sustainable Seafood

Offering sustainable wild-caught and farm-raised fish is important to our customers and our company, and to ensure that the variety of fish we enjoy today is available for future generations. For over a decade, Kroger has worked to improve the environmental sustainability of our seafood offering through sustainable seafood commitments, expert partnerships and sourcing decisions. Working closely with our partner World Wildlife Fund, we have set several goals to define and ensure sustainability for customers in our Seafood Department. Read about our commitments in our 2020 Sustainability Goals and in WWF's Kroger Seafood Sustainability Report.

Wild-caught seafood
© Molly Edmonds / WWF-US
Wild-caught seafood

Kroger’s Seafood Department is currently sourcing 88% of wild-caught fresh and frozen species from sustainable sources, including 71% from Marine Stewardship Council certified sources.

Farm-raised seafood
Farm-raised seafood

Currently, 96% of the farm-raised seafood we procured in our Seafood Department is from sustainable sources.

Fishery Improvement Projects
Fishery Improvement Projects

In 2019, Kroger supported 25 Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) through funding, sourcing or both. FIPs provide a step-wise approach for fisheries to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification.

Reducing Deforestation Impacts

Tropical deforestation is occurring at a rapid rate due to conversion of natural forest landscapes, which provide high environmental and social value, to land used for growing livestock and agriculture. Four key commodities top the list of commodities contributing to deforestation impacts: palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp/paper/timber. Kroger retails and produces diverse products in our stores and online platforms, including those containing ingredients that could contribute to tropical deforestation.

Several years ago, we adopted a company policy to purchase only palm oil certified to the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) supply chain standards for Our Brands products. We continue to work with suppliers to maintain the integrity of this commitment. We have also joined the Roundtable on Sutainable Palm Oil to further demonstrate our commitment.

Kroger's sustainable packaging goals incorporate a commitment to increase fiber sourcing from sustainably managed forests in its paper packaging for Our Brands products by 2020. We have aligned this goal with three qualifying certifying organizations: the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Programme for Endorsement of Forestry Certification.

We released a new No-Deforestation Commitment for Raw Material Sourcing in early 2020, to be followed by a final statement later in the year.

Sustainable Flowers and Plants

We understand that customers increasingly want to know where and how flowers and other plants are grown, harvested and transported—and wanted to feel they are making the responsible choice. As a result, we seek to adopt sustainable practices in our floral and plant assortments.

Sustainably Grown Flowers

We began our partnership with the Rainforest Alliance several years ago to advance our sustainable sourcing goals and promote fair labor practices in our supply chain, particularly in international growing regions. Products carrying the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal have been grown on farms that meet social and environmental standards designed to protect forests, soil, water, wildlife, and the communities and people who live and work in those forests and farms.

BLOOM HAUS™ is Kroger’s premium sustainable Our Brands floral line. Today, all Kroger BLOOM HAUS™ roses are 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified™.

Phasing out of Neonicotinoids:

Kroger recognizes the global honey bee population is vulnerable, with research indicating that a cause may include the use of pesticides such as neonicotinoids. Due to this anticipated risk to the honey bee population, we have committed to eliminate the sourcing of live plants in our stores and garden centers that have been treated with pesticides containing these neonicotinoids by the year 2020.

In 2019, Kroger released our Pollinator Protection Statement to further articulate our support of reducing excessive pesticide use, transitioning to alternative pest man¬agement methods and increasing Organic product assortment.

Kroger Our Brands canned goods
Product quality and safety

To address any concerns our customers may have about Bisphenol A (BPA) in product packaging, we have been working to limit the presence of BPA in Our Brands products. All Our Brands baby products are BPA free and we anticipate converting all Our Brands canned good items to non-BPA liners by the end of 2020.

Sterino Farms
Local sourcing

Kroger works with more than 150 local produce suppliers. We began working with Sterino Farms in Puyallup, Wash., in 1994. Sterino Farms provides fresh produce to Kroger customers in Washington and Oregon area stores.

Hacienda Tortilla
Supplier inclusion

In 2019, we spent $3.39 billion on purchases with more than 1,100 diverse suppliers, including True Choice Pack — the fastest growing woman-owned business in Ohio.