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Meijer to kick off first sustainability supplier summit

Meijer merchants are targeting 38 different certifications on vendor products or their manufacturing and procurement processes.

Meijer announced it will host its first Sustainability Supplier summit, giving vendors nationwide the opportunity to showcase sustainable products – from food to pets to home goods – for Meijer merchants to consider.

The event will be held virtually June 20-23 and comes on the heels of a recent survey Meijer conducted to identify environmental issues relevant to the retailer and its customers. Sourcing from companies with a strong commitment to sustainability, as well as expanding the retailer's offerings of sustainable products were among the most notable topics.

"At Meijer, we understand that to be a good company, we must be a good neighbor, which is why we integrate environmental sustainability into our daily operations," said Peter Whitsett, Meijer executive vice president of merchandising and marketing. "But so much of what we do in this space extends beyond what customers see on our shelves, which was why we felt it was time to seek out sustainability-focused vendors to help us expand our significant base of sustainable product offerings." 

[Read more: Raising the bar on sustainability in 2022: Consumer expectations drive retailers to choose more conscious policies and act on them]  

Meijer said that it has a strong base of thousands of sustainable and clean products. In 2021, the company launched its first sustainable own  clothing lines made from recycled polyester and 100% organic cotton. Half of the MTA Sport assortment in men's, women's and kids', as well as half of the men's Lake & Trail line, is made with at least 30% recycled polyester. It uses post-consumer water bottles that are ground into chips, melted into a fiber filament and turned into fabric to make apparel. The Lullaby Lane made with Organic Cotton collection for infants is OEKO TEX and Global Organic Textile Standard Certified, which means textiles are free from harmful chemicals and ensure organic status. It's made with soft, 100% organic cotton, grown without synthetic pesticides, the company said.  

The Meijer Sustainability Summit aims to expand its sustainable product offerings and will focus on categories storewide. In order to meet its sustainability standards, Meijer merchants are targeting 38 different certifications on vendor products or their manufacturing and procurement processes. For example, seafood merchants are looking at vendors that  follow the Best Aquaculture Practices, and the toy merchants are interested in vendors that have Ecologo certifications to ensure products are made without harmful chemicals. Meanwhile, the grocery and consumable merchants are looking for vendors who participate in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Program, which validates standards on forests, climate, human rights and livelihoods.

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Dog supplies merchant Katy Petzak said she's specifically looking for products that have sustainable packaging; cleaner and less ingredients; and recycled content in dog toys, leashes and collars.

"We know an increasing number of consumers are shopping consciously to live a more sustainable lifestyle, which filters down to their pets," Petzak said. "We've made great strides to carry the products our customers are looking for to meet their lifestyles, and while we are doing great in the sustainability space, we are optimistic this event will be a success."

Meijer is partnering with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing and its subsidiary product discovery tool, RangeMe, to host this event through the company's ECRM Connect virtual platform.

Certified vendors with retail-ready products can apply by Tuesday, April 26 for consideration here.

Once applications for the event are submitted, Meijer teams will review and select the vendors they would like to meet at the virtual summit. Suppliers not chosen for the summit will still be accessible through the Range Me registration tool and may be reviewed by Meijer merchants again in the future as business needs change.

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