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    Kroger Slashes a Quarter of its Annual Energy Use

    The Kroger Co. is making great strides in its four core eco-priorities: reducing its carbon footprint, reducing plastic bag use, greening its transportation operations and helping customers make sustainable choices.

    The Kroger Co. is making great strides in its four core eco-priorities: reducing its carbon footprint, reducing plastic bag use, greening its transportation operations and helping customers make sustainable choices, according to the Cincinnati-based grocer’s 2010 sustainability report.

    “The Kroger team continues to make strong progress in every area of our Sustainability Agenda and we are pleased to share our progress,” company president and COO Rodney McMullen said of the report, which was recently published online. “We also know there is much more to do, and we look forward to continuing to partner with our customers, communities and associates on this important work.”

    Kroger has reduced its normalized carbon footprint by more than 5 percent since 2006, while its total carbon footprint has remained flat, despite growth in square footage, tonnage and sales.

    Since 2000, Kroger has reduced overall energy consumption in its stores by more than 27 percent, which the company says is enough electricity to power every single-family home in Memphis, Tenn., for one year. Kroger’s goal for 2010 is to reduce its stores’ energy use by 30 percent from its baseline year of 2000.

    Kroger’s new stores will consume 25 percent less energy than a store built a decade ago, due to several strategies, including replacing lighting with LED fixtures, which use 75 percent less energy. Kroger says LEDs will be installed in all stores by the end of the year.

    In 2009, Kroger’s transportation efficiency (cases shipped per gallon) improved by 7 percent. Also last year, Kroger saved more than 200 million plastic bags through better bagging techniques and increased use of reusable bags. Further, 22.6 million pounds of plastic were recycled from Kroger stores and distribution centers, a 144 percent increase in plastic recycling since 2007. The 2010 goal is to exceed 25 million pounds. Last year, Kroger sold nearly 7 million reusable bags, which it says effectively replaced about 7 billion plastic bags.

    Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,470 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names, including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s.

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