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04/15/2021

DSN webinar highlights Kroger, Unilever sustainability practices

How are leading companies undertaking sustainability, both from the retailer and CPG side? 
David Salazar
Managing Editor
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How are leading companies undertaking sustainability, both from the retailer and CPG side? 

The webinar, “Sustainable Alignment: Kroger, Unilever and the Shopper,” featured Sripriya Navalpakam, sustainability manager for North America at Unilever, and Lisa Zwack, Kroger’s head of sustainability. The two discussed the ways that their respective organizations are looking to lead in sustainable business while also focusing on operating with a purpose. 

The webinar can be accessed on-demand here

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Zwack noted that, because of its role as a leading retailer and an operator of manufacturing plants — the company produces some 40% of its private-label products sold as its Our Brands products — the company engages in a wide variety of environmental and social government efforts. Principal among these is the company’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative, which aims to end hunger in its communities and eliminate waste in the company by 2025. Other efforts include sustainable packaging on its Our Brands product

“We’re thinking of our own operations, but we’re also thinking about what’s happening in our supply chain and what’s happening with our products — which makes a lot of sense given how many products we carry in a store, whether that’s national brand products or our private label products. These are such a rich opportunity area for sustainability, both environmental and social.”

Zwack also noted that Kroger’s private brands have a growing plant-based line, and that packaging plays a critical role in sustainability efforts. 

Navalpakam outlined Unilever’s sustainability compass, which focuses on being a purpose-led global leader in sustainable business. Among the company’s three priorities are climate action, efforts to protect and regenerate nature, and helping create a waste-free world. These include both short-term goals — including using 25% recycled plastic by 2025 and halving food waste in its operations by 2025 — and long-term goals that include halving the greenhouse gas impact across its product lifecycles by 2030 and achieving zero emissions by 2030. Both its climate action and nature-protection efforts are supported by Unilever’s 1 billion-euro climate and nature fund. 

“Within this plan, there is a comprehensive set of ambitious goals that touches many different pillars focusing on improving the health of the planet; improving people’s health, well-being and confidence; and on the social side, contributing to a fairer and more social inclusive world,” she said. 

The full webinar can be viewed here

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