Media Contact: Thomas Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-349-2615
Boston, May 12, 2022 – In response to a Green Century° shareholder proposal, the grocery retailer Kroger* has committed to setting science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its full value chain, including its operations and its supply chains. Greenhouse gas emissions from the food system represent roughly a third of all planet-warming emissions. Kroger is the largest supermarket chain in the United States, and among the nation’s largest general retailers.
“From clearing rainforests for agriculture, to raising livestock, to transporting food from farms on one continent to stores on another, our food system generates significant planet-warming emissions,” said Green Century president Leslie Samuelrich. “But it doesn’t have to be that way. If other large food retailers follow Kroger’s lead in reducing their supply chain emissions, it could galvanize a shift toward sustainable agriculture.”
Green Century’s shareholder proposal to Kroger called on the grocery chain to set science-based emissions reduction targets for its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions that would lead to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. Scope 1 and 2 emissions are those from a company’s operations and purchased energy, while the emissions from its supply chains and the use of its products are known as scope 3.
A similar Green Century proposal earned a landmark 70% shareholder vote at competitor Costco’s* annual meeting in January. Rather than facing a shareholder vote, Kroger agreed to Green Century’s request, prompting the withdrawal of the shareholder proposal.
“It’s great to see Kroger step up to the plate and commit to disclosing its full climate impact and set high-ambition targets to reduce its emissions. If we are to decarbonize the food system, other retailers will need to do the same,” said Green Century shareholder advocate Thomas Peterson.
Kroger has committed to setting targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). That will require Kroger, in 2023, to improve its existing scope 1 and 2 emissions targets enough that it plays its part in keeping the average global temperature from rising more than 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels. Kroger will also set a scope 3 target for the first time and disclose its comprehensive scope 3 emissions, which likely represent the vast majority of its climate impact. For context, Walmart* has estimated that for retailers, roughly 95% of emissions are in scope 3.
Also, Kroger now will disclose and set a target to reduce emissions related to agriculture, land-use change, and deforestation in its supply chains. Kroger, like other retailers, had been a laggard in reporting on these emissions, as highlighted by sustainability non-profit Ceres’ Food Emissions 50 benchmark.
“Ceres is encouraged by these new commitments from Kroger, as they position Kroger to be one of the first food-retail companies to commit to science-based climate action across its full value chain,” said Julie Nash, Senior Program Director for Food & Forests at Ceres. “Kroger stands out among the target food-retail companies in Food Emissions 50, an investor initiative designed to reduce emissions in the food sector, by being the first to commit to including forests, land use, and agriculture in its climate targets and its scope 3 emissions disclosure – which is one of the major engagement priorities of the initiative.”
Green Century was among the first investor signatories to the Food Emissions 50 initiative.
About Green Century Capital Management
°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Funds are one of the first families of fossil fuel free environmentally responsible mutual funds in the United States. Green Century Capital Management hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program and is the only mutual fund company in the U.S. wholly owned by environmental and public health nonprofit organizations.
*As of March 31, 2022, The Kroger Co. comprised 0.00%, 0.20%, and 0.00% and Costco Wholesale Corporation comprised 1.45%, 0.00%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century International Index Fund respectively. As of the same date, other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios of any of the Green Century Funds. References to specific securities, which will change due to ongoing management of the Funds, should not be construed as a recommendation by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
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