Sprouts Farmers Market has received a rating of AAA in the 2021 MSCI ESG Ratings assessment. The AAA rating represents the highest on the scale and signifies a company leading its industry in managing the most significant environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities, says the company. It also marks major improvements since Sprouts’ BBB rating last year.
“Over the last two years, we’ve further refined our sustainability focus by partnering with third-party ESG advisors and conducting materiality assessments to understand the issues most important to our stakeholders,” said Brandon Lombardi, chief legal officer and head of ESG, in a statement. “At Sprouts, we’re proud of the positive impact our business has on the environment, our team members and the communities we serve.”
The Phoenix, Ariz.-based Sprouts’ 2020 to 2021 ESG highlights include a commitment to sourcing 100% Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified palm oil for its Our Brands product portfolio; expanded sourcing of less carbon intensive products such as local, plant-based and organic; continued focus on food safety within its stores and supply chain; expanded board oversight of ESG initiatives; and the opening of produce distribution centers in Aurora, Colo. and Orlando, Fla. to drive network efficiencies, reduce transportation emissions and support fresh, local and organic assortment.
“An MSCI ESG Rating is designed to measure a company’s resilience to long-term, industry material environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks,” says the MSCI website. “We use a rules-based methodology to identify industry leaders and laggards according to their exposure to ESG risks and how well they manage those risks relative to peers.” Its ESG Ratings range from leader (AAA, AA), average (A, BBB, BB) to laggard (B, CCC).
Sprouts, which reported third quarter 2021 earnings earlier this month, says it’s making progress on the transformation of its stores. Taking the format back to its farmers market roots, Sprouts is determined to be a leading specialty store destination.
“True to its farm-stand heritage, Sprouts operates a unique grocery experience featuring an open layout with fresh produce at the heart of the store,” says the company. “Sprouts inspires wellness naturally with a carefully curated assortment of better-for-you products paired with purpose-driven people.”
Sprouts employs approximately 35,000 team members and operates more than 360 stores in 23 states nationwide.