Sustainability 58: Whole Foods Markets

The flowering of new design principles
The flowering of new design principles

With its announcement in April 2010 that it intends to cut its energy consumption by 1/4th within the next 5 years, the chain of Whole Foods Markets once again reinforced its commitment to leadership in sustainable architecture and design.

The grocery brand’s sustainable initiatives include not only cutting-edge green building design, but also increased development of on-site renewable energy, greater use of wind energy, and more sophisticated transportation and refrigeration technology and practices.

Whole Foods became an early advocate of sustainable green design. Already more than a dozen of its stores have been either certified or registered with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), or with Green Globes. A number of its stores also meet a portion of their energy demand with solar power. The first-ever Texas ‘Green Award’ was given in 1998 to Whole Foods’ headquarters expansion and renovation in Austin.

The food retailer has also continued, for the fourth consecutive year, to offset all of its energy use across the continent with credits for wind energy. It was the nation’s first major retailer to adopt such a practice.

Whole Foods’ sustainable initiatives also extend beyond architecture and design. The company is strongly aligned with, and committed to, producers of high-quality organic food products. It therefore pushes for naturally raised meat and poultry, and for reduced use of food additives and only safe pesticides. Its corporate mission advocates sensible wildlife and seafood harvesting, and the limited and wise use of animals in any product testing.

And Whole Foods’ credo carries through to the sustainability of its employees, customers and community, through substantial philanthropy, public education, and the creation of a humane work and employment culture. The company’s holistic approach to sustainability is aptly depicted in its Whole Foods-Whole People-Whole Planet logo.

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