UNFI released its 12th annual Better for All Report, which outlines UNFI’s progress toward its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments, the grocery wholesaler said on Monday.
For UNFI’s 2022 fiscal year, which ended July 30, the grocery wholesaler reported progress in nine areas: customer health & safety, energy efficiency, governance, associate safety & well-being, climate action, diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI), community development, responsible procurement and waste reduction.
“In the past year we’ve made a focused effort to holistically integrate our Better for All strategy throughout the organization, as well as proactively engage our stakeholders, from our associates to our supply chain partners, on issues from climate to food equity to DEI,” said UNFI CEO Sandy Douglas in a statement. “That approach has yielded some meaningful achievements this year and, in several areas, also allowed us to establish the organizational structures and processes needed to make progress against future goals.”
In 2023, UNFI launched three new science-based targets, bringing its total goals to 15 across its entire Better for All strategy, UNFI reported.
Continuing its connection with the people growing, making and moving the products that UNFI distributes, the grocery wholesaler’s report showcased the company’s engagement efforts with new customer surveys, continued conversations with investors and cross-functional efforts to respond to associate feedback for additional DEI and associate wellbeing initiatives, UNFI reported.
The report also includes efforts towards climate solutions, including making investments in platforms such as UNFI’s recently launched Climate Action Hub, to provide tools and resources to innovate and scale climate solutions across the food system, UNFI reported.
“Approximately 97% of UNFI’s total emissions are a result of our upstream supply chain, which is why we are committed to empowering our suppliers to take climate action,” said Alisha Real, UNFI’s VP of ESG and Social Impact. “As one of the country’s largest wholesalers, we are a connector between retail, brands and communities, and our leadership and education to others can help amplify the important role we all play in making a positive impact on our climate. With the validation of our science-based targets this year, we are ready to accelerate our action and lead by example to support our communities and the planet.”
Looking to continue its goals into the future, UNFI created the UNFI Foundation Food Equity Grant, awarding the Southside Community Land Trust in Providence, Rhode Island, $100,000 to help promote food equity, eliminate hunger and improve public health.
“While we are proud of the progress we have made, we recognize that in many ways we are just at the beginning of our journey and that there is much more to be done. We look forward to continuing this important work in the coming years,” Douglas said.
Last month, UNFI reported that net sales for the first quarter of the company's fiscal 2023 increased, primarily driven by inflation and new business. Net sales for the wholesaler's fiscal first quarter, which ended Oct. 29, were up 7.6% year over year, to $7.5 billion, UNFI reported.
UNFI supplies fresh, branded and private-label products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including independent retailers, supermarket chains, natural grocers, e-commerce companies and more.