UNFI’s Climate Goals Validated by SBTi
Company commits to significantly reduce emissions across its operations and value chain
United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI) (“UNFI”) announced in late May its science-based emissions reduction targets covering the organization’s operations and value chain have been validated and approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), making the Company among the first North American wholesale grocery distributors to adopt these targets. A core element of UNFI’s 2030 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda, Better for All, is a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, waste, and make progress on other key ESG priorities.
“Climate change continues to pose a serious threat to our planet and UNFI is committed to taking bold action on environmental issues and investing in opportunities to reduce our emissions,” said UNFI Chief Executive Officer, Sandy Douglas. “Through adoption and pursuit of these science-based targets, UNFI is proud to help lead the North American wholesale and grocery distribution industry, and humbly recognizes the critical importance of coordinated and rapid decarbonization.”
UNFI’s emissions reduction targets1 approved by the SBTi are consistent with levels required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The three validated targets below are based on a fiscal 2020 emissions base year and fiscal 2030 emissions target year.
- Reduce scope 1 and 3 heavy freight well-to-wheel GHG emissions from transportation by 38 percent on an intensity basis.
- Reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions from all other emission sources by 50 percent.
UNFI’s fleet of over 2,000 owned and leased trucks makes 1.37 million deliveries to over 30,000 customer locations each year. These deliveries are facilitated through UNFI’s 56 distribution centers which represent approximately 30 million square feet of warehouse space. Together, distribution centers, retail, fleet and all refrigerant emissions account for less than 5 percent of the Company’s total scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
Value Chain Target
- Reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services by 25 percent.
UNFI purchases nearly 300,000 products from over 12,000 suppliers and growers, which account for around 90 percent of total scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. To promote reductions, UNFI created the Climate Action Hub to provide tools and resources, including opportunities for suppliers and vendors to learn from experts and each other, to innovate and scale climate solutions across the food system. Hub visitors will find resources such as a Climate Action Guide which provides tips on how to advance their own emissions reduction work.
“We are excited to take the next step in our emissions reduction journey by having our targets validated by SBTi, but we know we can’t accomplish these goals alone,” said Alisha Real, UNFI Director of Sustainability and Social Impact. “We take the need for business accountability in solving this global challenge seriously and look forward to engaging our value chain in these important efforts.”
“UNFI’s commitment to reducing their emissions, including their scope 3 emissions, sets a strong precedent in the food industry. By working in collaboration throughout their network of suppliers, UNFI is helping to activate and support much needed climate action,” said Courtney Pineau, Executive Director at The Climate Collaborative.
To see a short video with UNFI Chief Executive Officer, Sandy Douglas, please visit – https://vimeopro.com/user48556009/sbti
About United Natural Foods
UNFI is North America’s premier food wholesaler delivering the widest variety of products to customer locations throughout North America including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, ecommerce retailers, and food service customers. By providing this deeper ‘full-store’ selection and compelling brands for every aisle, UNFI is uniquely positioned to deliver great food, more choices, and fresh thinking to customers everywhere. Today, UNFI is the largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America. To learn more about how UNFI is Fueling the Future of Food, 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. Examples of these statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our emissions reductions targets and related plans to achieve those goals. 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 31, 2021 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on September 28, 2021 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 may from time to time update these statements, but it is not obligated to do so.
 UNFI commits to reduce scope 1 and 3 heavy freight well-to-wheel (WTW) GHG emissions from transportation 38% per tonne kilometer by FY2030 from a FY2020 base year. UNFI also commits to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions from all other emission sources 50% by FY2030 from a FY2020 base year. UNFI further commits to reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services 25% within the same timeframe.