I enjoy spotlighting companies that take steps to be more environmentally friendly. By using the company’s services or buying their products, you support their green practices. Supermarkets are no exception. Since not all of us live near a natural foods store, I thought I’d investigate my local supermarket: Publix.
Publix is a supermarket chain with locations in five southeastern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Publix is a typical supermarket with no obvious green practices, except the reusable bags that have become universal and their GreenWise Market Products, some of which are organic. But Publix started what it calls a Green Routine in 2001. The company has been making changes throughout its business to minimize its impact on the environment. Publix has made physical changes to its facilities, such as using energy efficient air conditioning, refrigeration, and lighting. They are retrofitting stores with modern fixtures that will cut lighting energy use by 50%. They are also using LED lights with occupancy sensors, which turn the lights on when people walk down the aisles. Publix even has photovoltaic systems at four facilities, all in Florida: GreenWise Markets in Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton; Publix at Miami Lakes; and their corporate office in Lakeland, Florida.
Publix has made other efforts to reduce their footprint. In 2008 they recycled 215,000 tons of cardboard and 6,700 tons of plastic. They have increased efficiency in delivery of goods and thus reduced miles traveled by their trucks by 28,000 per week. They also use energy efficient vehicles: 170 hybrids, 331 flex fuel vehicles, and one global electric motorcar. Publix seems to be concerned about sustainable fisheries, claiming to provide some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified seafood, but not using the MSC labels because they are expensive. Check with your local Publix for seafood from sustainable fisheries.
Publix appears to be heading in the right direction. But the changes they’ve made haven’t reached all their locations. Consumers need to show support, but continue to demand more. Ask your local supermarket what it is doing to reduce its impact on the environment.
Photo credit: Publix Super Markets