NEWS: Whole Foods Market Enhances its Sustainable Business

Dispatch from SSC Intern Nick Foster

Many consumers have their reasons for preferring stores like Whole Foods Market for food and other household items to other supermarket chains: produce is locally grown and their products are free of artificial ingredients just to name a couple.  Now, the already environmentally conscious grocer just purchased enough Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset 100 percent of its electricity use in all North American locations.  The 776 million-kilowatt-hour energy purchase is the largest purchase of renewable energy to date by any U.S. retailer.  

Whole Foods Market’s purchase was from E.ON Climate & Renewables (EC&R) with a majority of the purchase going towards the funding and completion of EC&R’s Texas-based Panther Creek wind farm. 
“As a Texas-based company, it feels great to support a Texas-based wind farm,” added Whole Foods Market global vice president of Construction and Store development, Lee Matecko.  Additional investments are being made by Whole Foods Market to increase the number of stores with solar panels 3-fold and retrofit existing stores with energy-efficient lighting and equipment.  

Even the Environmental Protection Agency commended Whole Foods Market’s actions toward reducing GHG’s and transitioning to clean energy use for its store locations.  “Whole Foods Market is helping to move our nation into a clean energy future,” said Kathleen Hogan, director of Climate Protection Partnerships Division at the EPA. 

What is the environmental scope of this massive renewable energy deal? 868 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions are eliminated, an equivalency of removing over 72,000 cars from the road or planting 3.6 million mature trees.  With all of the nutritional and health benefits associated with shopping at Whole Foods Market, this purchase can function as a little more incentive for consumers to continue to shop at an eco-friendly supermarket.   
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