Southeastern Grocers, the parent company and home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, today released its 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Progress Report defining advancements the grocer has accomplished over the last year to create stronger communities, better products and a more sustainable future for all.
“At Southeastern Grocers, we continue to put people first and position belonging, inclusion and diversity at the heart of every decision as we work toward a more equitable and sustainable future,” said Anthony Hucker, president and CEO for Southeastern Grocers, or SEG. “Last year, we enhanced our products to be more environmentally friendly, challenged our suppliers to do the same and worked with our customers to eliminate the use of single-use plastics. We believe it’s our responsibility to be leaders of change and we will continue to push forward for a brighter future for our people and our planet.”
[Read more: Raising the bar on sustainability in 2022: Consumer expectations drive retailers to choose more conscious policies and act on them]
To streamline sustainability efforts, SEG has aligned its objectives with six specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to address hunger, health, education, inequalities, responsible consumption and production and ocean conservation.
Last year, SEG, together with the SEG Gives Foundation, donated more than 18.6 million meals to help alleviate food insecurity, and donated more than $1.1 million to aid and support disaster relief efforts. The grocer also partnered with thousands of local organizations throughout the Southeast, administered nearly 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines and donated $1.5 million to Folds of Honor, providing more than 300 educational scholarships to the legacies of fallen and disabled service members. In its second year, SEG’s Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Grant program provided 24 nonprofit organizations with more than $285,000 to help address racial disparities in education, health care and food insecurity.
To continue to build a sustainable future for years to come, SEG said that it has prioritized waste management by recycling nearly 50% more food than the previous year, recycled 134 million pounds of cardboard to save over 1.1 million trees and introduced digital receipts as an ecofriendly option for customers to further diminish waste. SEG also decreased the use of more than 2.3 million plastic bags while also supporting over 3,200 local nonprofits through its reusable Community Bag program that allows customers to direct a $1 donation to the nonprofit of their choice for each bag purchased.
[Read more: Southeastern Grocers, Feeding America partner on hunger relief initiatives]
SEG also has responsibly sourced 100% of its tuna and increased sustainability in its Own Brand line of products through its support of fair labor practices, responsible cocoa sourcing and creation of fiber compostable and biodegradable single-use products. The grocer was recently recognized by Store Brands for its commitment to innovating sustainable products and received multiple 2022 Game Changer Awards for its SE Grocers Prestige 100% Ground Single Origin Coffee, SE Grocers Naturally Better Cage-Free Eggs, SE Grocers Prestige Chocolate Bars, SE Grocers Naturally Better Paper Products and SE Grocers BAP Certified Seafood.
Additionally, SEG remains focused on working with and supporting local and diverse suppliers. Over the last year the grocer has expanded its product purchases from diverse suppliers by more than $17.5 million and launched a new online marketplace to connect with local and diverse suppliers.
SEG shared that it is committed to the development of lasting change for its people, community and planet — last year, this year and beyond. In celebration of Earth Day, the grocer will participate in several local initiatives, including the Tree Hill Earth Day Festival in Jacksonville, hosting design contests with local schools in partnership with Florida State Parks, volunteer days and more.