Health and wellness, food safety and environmental sustainability have emerged as important social and business drivers for food retailers. These are competitive issues that are economic, but do not deal on price. The big chains, supported by large resources, have taken action on all these fronts. Independents also are naturally quick to take action and are doing their part to positively impact the welfare of their shoppers and communities. How best to serve shoppers' needs for healthy foods while protecting the environment will be an important part of the discussion when members of the National Grocers Association meet this week in Las Vegas for their annual convention. As the following profiles reveal, you don't have to be a regional or national multi-store chain to make a difference. What it takes is commitment, a focus and solid execution to put health, food safety and environmental conservation at the forefront to make a meaningful impact. The independents profiled in these stories are making such a difference: Buehler's has made big strides in energy conservation; Dorothy Lane Market has spearheaded a multi-pronged merchandising program on gluten-free foods; AG New England has begun training its retail members in a certified food safety program from the National Restaurant Association; and single-store operator Georgetown Market has carved out a distinctive niche backed by expertise in healthy foods and supplements.