Details significant progress on the Company’s key areas of focus – delivering positive impact, operational efficiency, and reinforcing its value proposition to stakeholders.
PROVIDENCE, R.I.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI) (the “Company” or “UNFI”) today released its 13th annual Better for All Report detailing UNFI’s progress on its social, environmental, and governance objectives during the Company’s 2023 fiscal year, ended July 29, 2023. The report demonstrates the success of the Company’s enhanced focus on its most pressing impact areas – safety, well-being, waste, climate, sourcing, and community. It underscores that UNFI’s initiatives benefitting the planet, society, and the food industry can also directly benefit the Company’s business performance, resulting in enhanced value for all of its stakeholders.
UNFI’s Better for All strategy continues to focus on establishing the Company as a key connector within the food system value chain, creating and growing critical linkages among farmers, suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.
“UNFI is building a company that creates sustainable value for stakeholders and shareholders, and a better food system for all,” said Sandy Douglas, President and CEO of UNFI. “In FY2023, we issued new responsible sourcing policies and position statements, expanded supplier diversity efforts, reaffirmed our broader commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), started work on our ninth and largest on-site solar array, completed LED lighting conversions across all of our distribution centers (DCs), and deployed a new system that helps us reduce food waste in our DCs.”
As a result of these efforts across the Company during fiscal 2023, UNFI reported the following milestones toward its goal to build a food system that is better for its people, its communities, and the planet:
- Published, in connection with the Company’s new Supplier and Vendor Code of Conduct, both a formal policy designed to support the goal of zero deforestation across our primary deforestation-linked commodities by 2025, and a position statement and action plan for animal welfare standards in our supply chain. These have allowed the Company to work more efficiently and effectively with suppliers and vendors in pursuing these goals.
- Completed a roof-mounted solar array installation, the Company’s largest to date, at its Howell, New Jersey distribution center, with a new, even bigger roof-mounted solar array at its Riverside, CA distribution center slated for the near future. UNFI’s solar array initiatives lower the Company’s carbon footprint and provide an excellent return on investment while also reducing the energy cost of operating a distribution center.
- Launched the Climate Action Partnership to encourage suppliers to make credible climate commitments and provide innovative and scalable resources specific to the food system. This forum allows the Company to share best practices with suppliers who have common goals and drive more collaboration and efficiency across supply chains.
- Reaffirmed its commitment to DEI and continued to build a diverse, high-performing, and agile workforce by delivering more DEI programming to employees. These initiatives help UNFI recruit talented associates and benefit from their diverse perspectives, whether they work in Company distribution centers or corporate offices.
- Successfully completed an electric vehicle (EV) Blueprint that outlines how the Company plans to transition to zero-emission vehicles in the state of California. This reduces fuel and maintenance costs while also improving air quality.
- Completed LED lighting conversions in all distribution centers, which not only decreases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and lowers cost but also improves safety by increasing lighting and limiting maintenance work throughout the facility.
- Deployed a Reverse Logistics Disposition Reporting (RLDR) system at all UNFI distribution centers that increases inventory visibility, improves operating efficiency, reduces food waste, and minimizes waste disposal costs, contributing to lower shrink in distribution centers.
- Supported the “Acres: Cultivating Equity in Black Agriculture” program, launched by The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), to improve the Company’s relationships with an excellent source of high-quality producers.
Mr. Douglas added, “Our associates can be very proud of the solid progress on company sustainability and operational efficiency goals. I look forward to what we’ll accomplish together in 2024.”
UNFI is North America’s premier grocery wholesaler delivering the widest variety of fresh, branded, and owned brand products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, eCommerce providers, and foodservice customers. UNFI also provides a broad range of value-added services and segmented marketing expertise, including proprietary technology, data, market insights, and shelf management to help customers and suppliers build their businesses and brands. As the largest full-service grocery partner in North America, UNFI is committed to building a food system that is better for all and is uniquely positioned to deliver great food, more choices, and fresh thinking to customers. To learn more about how UNFI is delivering value for its stakeholders, visit www.unfi.com.
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding the Company’s business that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” that involve risks and uncertainties and are based on current expectations and management estimates; actual results may differ materially. The risks and uncertainties which could impact these statements include those described in the Company’s filings under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended July 29, 2023 filed with the SEC on September 26, 2023 and other filings the Company makes with the SEC. Any forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and, as such, speak only as of the date made. The Company is not undertaking to update any information contained in this press release to reflect subsequently occurring events or circumstances. Any estimates of future results of operations are based on a number of assumptions, many of which are outside the Company’s control and should not be construed in any manner as a guarantee that such results will in fact occur. These estimates are subject to change and could differ materially from final reported results.