Kroger has joined Whole Foods, Walmart, and Giant Eagle in an effort to protect pollinators and biodiversity.
As part of the Cincinnati-based grocer’s social and governance strategy, “Thriving Together,” Kroger will require all of its fresh produce suppliers to implement integrated pest management practices for all products supplied to the retailer by 2028 or 2030 depending on the grower size.
To establish a baseline of current practices, Kroger surveyed a sample of suppliers representing 40% of the grocer’s fresh produce spend on topics like pest management, soil health, biodiversity, and water conservation.
Additional steps Kroger is taking include:
- Conducting a biodiversity risk assessment for its supply chain to understand potential biodiversity impacts beyond fresh produce
- Preparing for future biodiversity reporting by piloting biodiversity metrics with row crop and specialty crop suppliers
- Conducting a climate risk assessment in select commodities in its supply chain
“We now understand that biodiversity collapse is as pressing a threat to planetary health and our food supply as climate change. And the over 1 billion pounds of pesticides used annually in U.S. agriculture are drivers of both,” said Kendra Klein, Ph.D., deputy director of science at advocacy group Friends of the Earth, in a statement talking about Kroger’s efforts. “It’s past time for U.S. food retailers to take swift action to eliminate the use of toxic pesticides in their supply chains and speed the transition to organic and other ecologically regenerative approaches to agriculture. Despite this promising industry trend, efforts fall far short of what is needed to protect pollinators, people, and the planet from toxic pesticides.”