Sobeys makes great strides on sustainability journey

by | Feb 8, 2024 | Community, Environment, Food Waste

At a time when environmental consciousness is at the forefront of consumer concerns, businesses are under increasing pressure to adopt sustainable practices. Sobeys, one of Canada’s leading grocery retailers and Second Harvest’s longstanding partner, has stepped up to the challenge. The company is making significant strides on its sustainability journey by addressing food surplus at both national and local levels. 

Sobeys has achieved a 32% reduction in food waste within its retail operations, a milestone toward its goal of a 50% reduction by 2025. In 2023, Sobeys Inc. rescued over 31 million pounds of food across all locations, achieving the public commitment it set in 2021. Driving the progress is a sustainability mindset adopted throughout the company’s operations. 

At the national level, Sobeys has implemented a comprehensive strategy to minimize food waste throughout its supply chain. The company embraces technology and data analytics to optimize inventory management to reduce overstock and ensure that products move efficiently from farm to shelf. Store managers are actively involved in a food waste prevention program which includes training in foundational skills and knowledge, as well as finding creative solutions to repurpose surplus food. 

Also key to Sobeys’ progress is the national partnership with Second Harvest. Last year, about 80% of Sobeys Inc. stores across the country used the Second Harvest Food Rescue App to donate over than 31 million pounds of surplus food to social service organizations in nearly 900 communities. In the process, the company prevented 54.5 million kg of harmful greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere – the equivalent of emissions from 16,000 cars. 

The app streamlines the process of rescuing and redistributing surplus food and empowers each store to take action against hunger in its own community by building lasting partnerships with local non-profits. Almost 85% of Sobeys stores have made a donation through the app, and some have been supporting the same social service organization since 2021.  

“Sobey’s Islington and Bloor is a great location to pick up a food rescue donation for produce, grains and a variety of meats, mostly chicken and pork. Sobey’s Islington and Bloor provides the much needed aid for our charity’s outreach food and meal program.” 

– Dowling Community Service Residence –

Looking ahead, Sobeys will continue to work closely with Second Harvest to encourage stores to fight food insecurity while aiming to meet their ambitious sustainability goals. The company provides an open channel of communications, allowing our representatives to get in touch with stores to understand their concerns and answer questions. Some locations go the extra mile, offering speaking opportunities for Second Harvest at their meetings to conduct training and education on the importance of food rescue and food waste reduction.   

We’re thrilled to see Sobeys’ progress on its sustainability journey. By tackling food waste at both national and local levels, the company is making a positive impact on the environment and the communities it serves.  

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