Purpose continues to drive shifting consumer expectations within today’s modern market. Everyday customers, especially within retail, no longer aimlessly enter stores in search of the cheapest products. Today, customers want to know their brand of preference is taking an active part in the community.

Jessica Adelman, Group VP of Corporate Affairs at Kroger, discussed this new mindset.

“Customers want to shop with, employees want to work with, and stakeholders want to partner with companies who increasingly are living their purpose. At the Kroger Company, our purpose is to feed the human spirit. Our primary vehicle for purpose is our Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative.”

Ending hunger in the community and eliminating waste by 2025 is a bold business plan that was set out by
Kroger last year. Part of the Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative includes establishing a $10 million innovation fund through the Kroger Foundation, providing 3 billion meals by 2025, and achieving zero waste by 2020 and zero food waste by 2025.

Last week, Kroger announced a major pillar towards achieving its zero waste initiative goals. Kroger announced they would be eliminating plastic bags from all of its 2,800 stores by 2025.

The idea behind this new business initiative, according to Adelman, was about making sure Kroger was doing its part internally to help fulfill their external goals.

“It didn’t make sense for us to have plastic bags in our system. Increasingly our customers are bothered by them and I am bothered by them. We are seeing the environmental effects of plastic bag usage on wildlife and ecosystems,” Adelman continued. “It didn’t feel right to us to have a zero hunger zero waste platform, be out there as champions of change, and yet have these major inconsistencies in our own retail footprint.”

The move towards reusable bags at Kroger has the potential to make a massive environmental impact. Out of the 100 billion plastic bags that are used by Americans every single year, only five percent of the bags are recycled. Environmental waste emitted by Kroger is expected to drop by 123 million pounds per year with this move.

With Kroger being the major brand that it is, the move should allow other chains to implement the same changes towards environmental sustainability.

Despite an already incredibly positive response throughout the retail market, Adelman and her team are also hoping those who aren’t fans of the move end up converting their opinion.

Adelman elaborated on this, “Some of you may not like this, but we feel bad about plastic bags and are not going to use them anymore. We hope that you, as a customer, are looking to us to help you help yourself and let’s do this together.”
 

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