Home stretch for PCC’s first sustainability goals
This article was originally published in January 2022
PCC is entering the home stretch of work on the ambitious set of sustainability goals first announced in 2018. After four eventful years, we’ve made great progress on many goals and are working diligently on remaining challenges.
We are pleased to report fulfilling and even exceeding some targets that had seemed daunting as we began. For example:
- PCC achieved our goal of purchasing 100% renewable energy in the first year of this five-year process. Our stores are fully powered by renewable electricity.
- We achieved our goal of carbon negative store operations in 2019, meaning we remove more carbon from the atmosphere than what our store operations emit in a given year.
- PCC exceeded our water and energy efficiency goals in 2020, in part by constructing high performing green stores and retrofitting older less-efficient equipment in our existing stores.
- We have exceeded our goals of adding 1,000 new organic products to our shelves and donating 1 million meals to our communities in need.
- PCC’s work toward building a supplier diversity and inclusion program continues through our Diverse Vendor Incubation Program, in partnership with Ventures. This innovative program supports BIPOC, female and LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs scaling up their businesses through direct mentorship from PCC’s merchandising team, as well as stocking some vendors’ products on PCC shelves for the holidays.
In the coming year, PCC staff will concentrate on the handful of remaining goals, including some where world events raised unexpected challenges. We’ll work on achieving zero waste, reducing refrigerant leak emissions by 50%, eliminating petroleum-based plastic deli packaging, and providing electric vehicle (EV) charging access at every PCC store. Some details include:
- We’re near the finish line for achieving zero waste. To take those final steps, we’ll be focusing on further reducing garbage pickups and improving our waste sorting to minimize what we send to the landfill.
- We made major strides toward our goal of eliminating petroleum-based plastic deli packaging, such as the introduction of compostable deli containers in 2019. More recently, we also replaced our plastic black bottom containers, one of our most heavily used deli packaging supplies, with a compostable fiber-based alternative that’s also free of added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). However, the COVID-19 pandemic raised several stumbling blocks toward this goal, which we’ll continue working to overcome. When the pandemic began, we temporarily packaged many items that were previously available in bulk due to health and safety guidelines. In addition, global supply chain issues strained our ability to source compostable packaging.
As PCC heads into the final year of our five-year goals pursuit, we will simultaneously be developing our next set of sustainability goals. These new goals will strengthen our continued commitment to social and environmental responsibility and also incorporate new and emerging issues such as food waste reduction.
For more about our current sustainability goals and progress, see the 2020 Co-op Purposes Report.