The public affairs office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported in September that supermarket chains Albertsons and Whole Foods have received recognition from the EPA for their work to green up refrigeration in their stores.
The agency is recognizing both supermarket chains under the GreenChill Partnership, which aims to reduce harmful refrigerant emissions, protect the ozone layer and combat climate change. Albertsons Intermountain West, owned by SUPERVALU, earned an EPA GreenChill award for achieving the company’s challenging emissions reduction goal this past year. SUPERVALU runs over 250 stores throughout Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Montana.
Even though GreenChill partners achieve emission rates well below national averages, all partners set ambitious, tough-to-achieve annual goals to continually improve their performance.
“SUPERVALU sought out every opportunity to stop refrigerant leaks and achieve the company’s ambitious voluntary emissions reduction goal,” said Keilly Witman, GreenChill Program Manager. “The employees should be very proud of their hard work, and their customers can feel proud that their supermarkets take environmental protection seriously.”
For the second time since the beginning of the GreenChill Partnership, Whole Foods received the Most Improved Emissions Rate Award. This award acknowledges the GreenChill Partner with the most dramatic reduction in its corporate refrigerant emissions rate from the previous year. "Whole Foods’ efforts to stop refrigerant leaks led to a 17 percent reduction in the company’s refrigerant emissions rate in one year," said Witman. "Whole Foods’ efforts show that it is possible to make significant gains in environmental protection in a short period of time when a company prioritizes emissions reductions.”
According to EPA, the refrigerants used by supermarkets, if not managed properly, contribute to climate change, and harm the ozone layer, which protects people from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. GreenChill is an EPA partnership with supermarkets to reduce harmful refrigerant emissions and decrease partners’ impact on the ozone layer and climate change. GreenChill works with supermarkets to help them transition to environmentally-friendlier refrigerants, reduce the amount of refrigerant they use, eliminate refrigerant leaks, and adopt green refrigeration technologies and environmental best practices.
More than 7,300 stores belong to the GreenChill Partnership, which EPA says accounts for 20% of the supermarket industry.