Supply Chain:

High-Impact Commodities

High-impact commodities are commodities that have been identified as having the potential for a greater social, environmental, or economic impacts due to where and how they are produced or processed. Kroger leads and participates in industry-wide and global forums to learn more about some of these key commodities, and their specific social and environmental impacts. We actively evaluate if there are areas where we can influence positive change. Here are examples of what Kroger is doing in several key areas: sustainable seafood, dairy, palm oil, conflict minerals and flowers.

SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD

Offering sustainable wild caught and farm-raised fish is important to our customers and Kroger. Our seafood buyers recognize the importance of responsibly sourced seafood and are taking steps to ensure that the variety of fish we enjoy today is available for future generations.


Wild-Caught Seafood

In 2009, Kroger began a collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). This work helps us better understand the sustainability of fisheries where we source our seafood. By 2015, our goal was to source 100% of our top 20 wild-caught species (by volume) from fisheries that are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified or on the path to certification—that is, being fully assessed for MSC certification or engaged in a comprehensive fishery improvement project. As of our last review, 86% of our top 20 wild caught fresh and frozen species by volume met these criteria.

This year Kroger has extended and expanded our commitment to sustainable seafood procurement and our work with WWF. Our new commitment now includes all wild-caught species and states that, by 2020, Kroger will source:


© WWF-US/Molly Edmonds

  • 100% of its wild-caught seafood from fisheries that are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified, in MSC full assessment, in comprehensive Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), or certified by other GSSI‐recognized programs; and
  • Kroger will preferentially source MSC-certified wild-caught seafood and, by 2020, Kroger will source at least 90% of its volume from fisheries that are MSC certified.

As of our initial assessment, Kroger is currently sourcing 83% of our wild-caught fresh and frozen species by volume under this criteria, with 66% of our total volume coming from MSC certified fisheries.

In addition, Kroger is committed to source 100% of shelf-stable tuna from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation-participating companies.

Kroger Seafood Sustainability Commitment

"We applaud Kroger for extending its commitment to all of its wild-caught fish, 90% of which will come from MSC-certified fisheries by 2020. As the most robust and credible program for wild-caught seafood, MSC ensures that the certified fisheries from which Kroger is sourcing its seafood are managed sustainably. Kroger's commitment signals to suppliers that demand for sustainable, MSC-certified seafood will continue to grow."

—Caroline Tippett Director of Seafood, WWF

FISHERY IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS (FIPS)

Comprehensive FIPs offer a step-wise approach for fisheries to reach the MSC standard. This collaborative effort brings together fishers, the private sector, government, researchers, and NGOs to improve the environmental performance of a fishery. This approach ensures that FIP activities are aligned with regionally specific interests.

By working with WWF to support comprehensive FIPs, Kroger is helping improve the health of the world's oceans and ensure the long-term viability of fisheries and livelihoods of fishers around the globe.


KROGER-SUPPORTED FISHERY IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS (FIPS)

Kroger has supported 19 fishery improvement projects (mapped below) since 2010 through sourcing, letters to key stakeholders and/or direct funding.


Kroger-Supported Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPS)

"As one of the country's leading supermarket chains, Kroger has significant reach and influence to spur fisheries to improve their environmental performance and earn MSC certification. By supporting fishery improvement projects, the company is helping fisheries along the pathway to becoming MSC-certified, which benefits fishing communities, food companies, U.S. consumers, and global ocean health alike."

—Stephanie Bradley Manager of Fishery Improvement Projects, WWF


© Brett Stirton / Getty Images / WWF

Kroger is now a formal WWF FIP Participant for several of WWF's FIPs, including Ecuador and Peru mahi-mahi; Bahamas, Honduras and Nicaragua lobster; Vietnam blue swimming crab; and Vietnam yellowfin tuna. This means that Kroger actively helps the FIP progress by engaging their suppliers, supporting policy asks, and providing funding for implementation of FIP activities.

Supplier Collaboration—
Peru Mahi-Mahi FIP

Kroger and WWF are working with other stakeholders to strengthen Peru's mahi-mahi fishery. In 2014, Peru exported more than $73 million worth of mahi-mahi, about 70% of it to the United States. Peru is the largest exporter, and the United States the largest importer, of mahi-mahi worldwide, which is why Kroger's support has been so crucial to the success of the project. Most recently, Kroger has supported efforts to increase education, funding, and governmental support for the FIP. It also supported the completion of a mahi-mahi supply chain analysis which identified the key "choke points" in the supply chain and will help improve traceability and reduce illegal fishing. The fishery anticipates entering MSC Full Assessment in late 2018.

“Seafood consumers are increasingly aware of the issues affecting our oceans. As a result, achieving seafood sustainability through the support of global Fishery Improvement Projects and responsible sourcing are of critical importance to not only secure seafood availability but also guarantee the future of our industry,” said Adriana Sanchez, Sea Delight’s Director of Sustainability. “We are proud to be a supplier partner of Kroger and be able to meet their seafood sustainability goals through our company’s active engagement in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) and working closely with Kroger’s NGO partner, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in supporting these initiatives. Since 2014, Sea Delight has worked with WWF in support of the Mahi-Mahi Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in Peru. Kroger’s commitment to seafood sustainability is proof that, through their purchasing power, they can generate change within their own supply chain, thus, inspiring companies like ours to continue supporting projects like the mahi-mahi FIP in Peru. Most importantly, I believe providing market access to fisheries involved in FIPs is an incredible incentive for these fisheries to not only engage in fishery improvement projects but also continue to be active stakeholders and invested knowing that there is a place in the market for their products.”


AT-RISK SPECIES

Sometimes, however, there is consensus and science that a species should not be fished and needs time to recover. In those cases, we will not source these species from areas at risk. Therefore Kroger does not source shark, blue fin tuna, marlin, skates, rays, parrot fish and monk fish. We listen to and learn from NGOs with expertise and experience in these areas. We rely on expertise from many sources and science to guide our sourcing decisions. We are proud of the work we are doing as a result of our partnerships and informed buying processes.


CANNED TUNA

All of our corporate brand canned tuna is sourced from companies that participate in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). Kroger's new commitment extends this policy to all canned and pouched tuna sold in Kroger's stores. The ISSF was formed in 2009 to create science-based solutions for tuna fisheries worldwide. We are committed to continuously evaluating improvement in this area. Annually Kroger will be reviewing ISSA member companies' ISSF compliance reports to support progress and improvement in tuna fisheries globally.


TRACEABILITY

As part of Kroger's new commitment to sustainable seafood sourcing and our work with WWF, we recognize that traceability and the removal of illegally sourced seafood is a critical component of a comprehensive sustainable seafood policy and commitment. Kroger is committed to ensuring traceability and has committed to support the WWF Traceability Principles for Wild Caught Fish Products. See how we are also increasing checks and balances in the seafood supply chain through our growing Social Compliance Program.


AQUACULTURE (FARM-RAISED)

Farm-raised seafood is a healthy alternative, too. Since 2012, all of our farm-raised corporate brand seafood suppliers have achieved and maintain the Global Aquaculture Alliance's (GAA) Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) level 2 certification. This third-party audit ensures high standards for environmental practices, food safety, quality, and traceability. For more information, please visit http://www.gaalliance.org/.


GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD INITIATIVE

As part of our commitment, Kroger will also source seafood from fisheries certified by programs recognized by Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). Its mission is to create a common, consistent and global approach for the continuous improvement of seafood certification and labeling programs that promote seafood sustainability. Since GSSI's launch in 2013, more than 30 companies and multiple other stakeholders have engaged in its programs.


Canned Tuna Sustainability

"Kroger's expanded commitment to ISSF for all of the canned and pouched tuna it sells is an important step forward. ISSF advocates for the sustainable management of the world's most productive tuna fisheries and having even more support from Kroger will build momentum for sustainable tuna, the health of the oceans they live in, and the well-being of the people who rely on them for food and jobs."

—Bill FoxVice President, Fisheries, WWF


HOW WE IMPROVE

Kroger takes its responsibility to influence fishing and farming practices around the world seriously. We listen to and learn from many advocates for sustainable fishing practices and respect the multiple viewpoints that exist for how to ensure the future of various species of fish. We continually evaluate how we can improve our buying and sourcing practices, and contribute to the work being done to improve the sustainability of wild-caught, farm-raised seafood, canned tuna, as well as those who catch, process, and distribute seafood.

Kroger believes in the importance of transparency and we will continue to share information with our customers about the dynamic seafood sustainability landscape as well as work to improve and promote it. Last year we launched a series of videos to share our approach to seafood sustainability. To learn more about our seafood sustainability efforts and policy, please visit our website at http://sustainability.kroger.com.


PALM OIL

Today, palm oil is the world's leading oil crop and accounts for roughly one-third of the global vegetable oil production. Unless it is sourced responsibly, however, palm oil can contribute to deforestation in parts of the world.

In April of 2013, Kroger adopted a company policy about the use of palm oil in our corporate brand products. We committed to purchase 100% certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) to be used in these products by the end of 2015. Suppliers have been asked to acknowledge and accept our corporate policy, as well as demonstrate their progress. At the end of last year, all Kroger corporate brand products that contain palm oil are sourcing 100% CSPO. We continue to work with suppliers to maintain the integrity of this commitment.


Dairy

Kroger is both a retailer and processor of milk. We have 18 fluid milk processing plants across the U.S. Kroger is committed to producing and selling the highest quality, freshest, most sustainable dairy products available.

Our dairies processed more than 467 million gallons of milk for our customers in 2015. We receive our raw milk from local dairy farmers across the United States. We have invested in many initiatives from the farm to the store that make Kroger a leader in providing the freshest milk possible. Kroger has strict quality metrics for incoming raw milk. From the time we receive it we keep it cold and moving through the plant, adhering to strict quality standards. These efforts allow us to provide a 10-day freshness guarantee, making us a leader in the industry.

Kroger Gives Hope by the Gallon for Hunger Action Month

In 2015, MilkPEP and Feeding America teamed up with Kroger for an in-store, consumer-facing campaign called Pour It Forward during national Hunger Action Awareness month. Families across the country face a shortage of milk every day. MilkPEP developed a campaign designed to educate customers about the importance of milk and the vital need to increase the availability of milk to underserved families. More than 2,400 Kroger stores participated in the campaign that included signage to encourage customers to "give hope by the gallon" by adding a small donation of $1, $3 or $5 to their grocery bill to help a local family. By the end of the campaign, our generous customers provided more than 100,000 gallons of fresh milk to struggling communities in the form of vouchers for a free gallon of milk, redeemable at any of the Kroger family of stores. The vouchers allow Feeding America food banks to receive the milk on a need based schedule and ensure no milk is wasted. Kroger was able to reinforce our ongoing commitment to fighting hunger while simultaneously generating milk sales. MilkPEP help connected the dairy industry to families in need while educating customers at over 2,400 retail locations on the importance of milk.


Natural Prairie Organic Farm

At Natural Prairie Dairy, we are committed to producing quality, organic milk. We believe in creating a sustainable, traceable product that is humanely produced and respectful of the land, animals and people that make up Natural Prairie. We have been meticulous in creating processes that support and rely upon our land, cows and people working together. Because organic farming requires the utmost respect for the land, that's exactly how we operate—giving back as much as we take while focusing on sustainability. We grow our own organic feed on land fertilized with the nutrients our cows produce, and always free of herbicides and pesticides. Utilizing modern technology, we are able to measure and respond to the land, conserve resources and care for the environment. Our cows need a sustainable farm ecosystem to produce healthy organic milk. That is why we focus on their needs using a highly qualified, trained staff, ensuring our cows have round-the-clock access to the best care. We are always evolving, using new methods that help us to constantly improve our efficiencies. Dairy farming has been our family tradition for over 60 years, and we are proud to produce sustainable, organic milk from our family to yours.

"We are proud to work with Kroger in bringing nutritious, organic milk to consumers across the country. As a family owned and operated business, we share their commitment to honest, high quality products created with integrity and respect for our cows and the land."

—Donald and Cheri De Jong


Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

Kroger entered into a partnership with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in 2015 to explore opportunities to improve sustainability across the dairy supply chain. In its first year, the partnership worked to develop a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) platform to host data supporting a food waste diversion tool. In 2016, efforts will focus on increasing food waste diversion from landfills at Kroger's manufacturing and retail facilities. Part of this effort is identifying opportunities for construction of new anaerobic digesters to take both food waste and manure. Kroger will also launch an effort to benchmark existing food waste across all facilities using a globally-accepted measurement platform. Work will continue with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance to identify practical, scalable solutions addressing the dual challenges of food insecurity and food waste. For more information on the U.S. Dairy Innovation Center, please visit www.usdairy.com.


Flowers

As the nation's largest florist, we work with leading suppliers who understand how to effectively manage their farms now, and into the future. We understand that customers increasingly want to know where and how flowers are grown, harvested and transported. Rainforest Alliance Certification offers a comprehensive approach to sustainable agriculture. On Rainforest Alliance Certified™ flower farms, dangerous agrochemicals are prohibited and soils, waterways and wildlife habitat are protected. Farm workers enjoy decent housing, access to medical care and schools for their children. The little green frog seal assures consumers that the flowers they are purchasing have been grown and harvested using environmentally and socially responsible practices.

Our corporate brand roses are Rainforest Alliance Certified.


Kentucky Derby
—Garland of Roses

Did you know that Kroger supplies the flowers for the Kentucky Derby? Since 1987, Kroger's master floral designers have crafted the "Garland of Roses," which is bestowed upon the winning thoroughbred. In our Middletown, KY store, our customers are able to see the garland being created. It takes nearly one dozen master florists and many volunteers approximately seven hours to create the garland, which measures 122 inches long by 22 inches wide, weighs approximately 40 pounds, and contains more than 400 rainforest alliance "freedom" roses. The roses are hand selected and sewn into the backing. Each rose has its own vial of water to help keep it fresh. The finished garland gets a police escort from the store to Churchill Downs, where it is on display and guarded by the U.S. Navy. The garland is then presented to the winning horse and jockey of the Kentucky Derby. Kroger is proud to produce the garland for the greatest two minutes in sports.

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