Weis Markets has completed Ratio Institute’s Sustainable Food Retail Certification, highlighting the environmental and economic benefits of the Mid-Atlantic food retailer’s sustainability practices while identifying opportunities for more gains.
Within each of the grocer’s districts, Ratio Institute conducted in-person assessment training that included store managers and district leadership. Together, the staff assessed practices at the retailer’s 197 stores using the performance standard established by its Sustainable Food Retail Certification program.
This benchmark approach enabled Weis Markets to quantify the value of its practices, track progress, identify new cost-saving measures and align its sustainability strategy with corporate initiatives. During this process, Ratio Institute collected store-level data on current and potential practices.
“When it comes to sustainability, Weis Markets aims for continuous improvement,” said John Lerch, senior director, energy and facility maintenance.
“Since 2008, we’ve reduced our annual CO2 emissions by 57 percent, including a 4 percent reduction over the last year. Our ongoing participation in Ratio Institute’s certification program helps us prioritize new measures and build on these gains in a systematic, efficient manner.”
Ratio Institute’s analysis of the data revealed that sustainability practices across all stores have an annual value of $13.6 million. This translates into an average of about $69,000 in annual value per store. Current practices have also reduced the company’s annual CO2 emissions by 392,000 metric tons – the equivalent of 85,500 passenger vehicles driven for one year.
Examples of measures yielding high value also include cardboard recycling, heat recovery for water used in refrigeration and walk-in coolers and freezers that trigger alarms when doors are left open.
“Weis Markets continues to make great strides in its sustainability practices and operations,” said Peter Cooke, Ratio Institute co-founder.
“Among its numerous sustainability achievements is its industry-leading refrigerant leak rate of 8 percent – well below the grocery industry’s average leak rate of 25 percent. Through its impressive track record, the retailer has demonstrated how prioritizing sustainability drives improvement in performance, efficiency and value.”