- The Giant Company is joining the GreenChill program, a partnership run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that works with retailers, refrigeration system and chemical manufacturers to minimize refrigerant emissions and help companies transition to environmentally friendly alternatives, the grocer announced on Thursday.
- Giant noted that it is in the process of eliminating older refrigeration units, installing leak detectors and converting refrigerants at its stores in four states across the mid-Atlantic region.
- As The Giant Company announced its transition to greener refrigeration alternatives, another regional supermarket chain, Big Y, revealed that it joined the Nexamp community solar program, committing to 19 solar projects across the state of Massachusetts, according to an email sent to Grocery Dive.
With its GreenChill partnership, The Giant Company adds its stores to a group of more than 12,500 partner stores across the U.S. pledging to lower refrigerant emissions.
Its partnership with the EPA is not the only move that Giant has taken recently to improve its sustainability credentials. The grocer announced last year that four stores had reached an internally defined landmark of “zero waste," where less than 10% of the store’s waste goes to a landfill or is incinerated — a badge that The Giant Company aims to achieve at all of its almost 190 locations by 2025. It also worked with the Planet Bee Foundation last year to construct beehives for a pollinator-friendly solar field at the company’s headquarters in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Ahold Delhaize, the parent company of The Giant Company, also recently announced its pledge to reduce carbon emissions 50% in its operations by 2030, among a number of other environmental measures in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
Meanwhile, Big Y, which operates 80 stores, will receive 50% of the "energy credits," or savings on utilities, generated by 19 solar projects across Massachusetts. The company has already installed solar panels at several stores and operations centers independently of the Nexamp partnership, according to the announcement.
As companies in the grocery retail space pay increasing attention to the savings and positive marketing value of environmentally sustainable practices, signing onto programs like the EPA’s GreenChill program has become an industry norm. Albertsons, Aldi, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Meijer, Target and Whole Foods Market have all committed to reduce their refrigerant emissions.
According to the EPA, stores included in the GreenChill program have a 50% lower emissions rate than average stores. Commercial refrigeration system leaks emit high levels of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) or HFC refrigerant. The former contributes to ozone depletion while the latter is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, where one pound of one widely used industry refrigerant emitted has the equivalent damage of 4,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.