Did you know that Vancouver, WA has the world's first Certified B Corporation grocer? New Seasons Market, a west-coast based grocery chain from Portland, OR gained B Corporation Certification in 2013. B Corps is an international certification for businesses that reach thorough standards of "social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability." New Seasons is a true pioneer for large-scale sustainability and the Vancouver store was recognized as a Clark County Green Business in 2014.
Reduce – Reuse – Reuse some more
At all New Seasons locations, customers can bring their own containers and jars to pour bulk food into, reducing the need for plastic bags. New Seasons' Bag it Forward program expands on this by giving customers a $0.05 credit for bringing their own bag or reusable container. The customer can either keep the money or choose to donate it to a local charity. It may seem like a small contribution, but New Seasons has reported over $300,000 donated since the program started.
New Seasons has adapted well to recent recycling market changes by researching more sustainable options for packaging food. Today, Portland locations are piloting a project with GO Box to serve deli foods in reusable containers. A successful trial in Portland may mean that GO Box could be coming to Vancouver. In the meantime, the deli still allows customers to bring their own to-go containers, but require a few extra steps to protect health.
Is your refrigerator running?
A large environmental problem with grocery stores is the immense amount of energy and toxins involved with refrigerating large quantities of food. New Seasons was one of the first grocers to add doors to all of their refrigerator aisles, conserving energy and protecting food from expiring prematurely. New Seasons is also a member of the North American Sustainable Refrigerants Council, whose mission is to reduce refrigerant leaks and normalize the use of natural refrigerants in place of conventional formulas that can release ozone-depleting CFCs into the environment.
Waste not, want not
To combat food waste, New Seasons donates extra food to 13 local organizations that distribute food to those in need. Expired and inedible food is sent to be composted through Clark County's commercial composting program.
On the operations side, New Seasons uses a Green Wheels fleet to bulk orders that are shipped to their grocery stores into one delivery vehicle, instead of having many trucks making small deliveries to the store. This reduces greenhouse gases and traffic, and makes it easier to stock products from small businesses, supporting the local economy.