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The grocer was recognized for its efforts in sustainable agriculture, alternative energy approach, and Whole Planet Foundation.
Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, won the 2009 Green Choice Award from Natural Health magazine for its commitment to substantial, earth-friendly initiatives that inspire other companies and consumers to follow suit.
“Whole Foods Market is committed to helping take care of the world around us, and our active support of organic farming and sustainable agriculture helps protect our planet,” said John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods. “One way we are doing this is through our Whole Trade Guarantee, which brings ethically sourced products to the marketplace so that our shoppers can use their buying power to help combat poverty while ensuring a safe and healthy working environment for producers in developing countries where we do business.”
The magazine honors Whole Foods Market and nine other companies in its May 2009 issue with its First Annual Green Choice Awards for their alternative energy sourcing, energy reduction programs, recycling and composting initiatives, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications, and overall green track record.
At the helm of Whole Foods Market’s eco-vision is its Green Mission Task Force, a team member-driven organization that helps to maintain environmental stewardship for every aspect of store and facility operations, including:
• Purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset electricity used in all Whole Foods Market locations (retail and non-retail) in North America.
• Working towards converting company distribution fleets to bio-diesel to reduce fuel emissions.
• Pioneering a composting program to reduce landfill waste by up to 75 percent
• Removing disposable plastic bags from store checkouts
Additionally, the magazine singled out Whole Foods’ Whole Planet Foundation for its success in empowering the poor through micro-credit in communities where Whole Foods sources products such as coffee, bananas, rice, cashews and spices, with a focus on the developing world. Through microfinance institutions around the globe, the foundation has funded more than $5 million in microcredit loans -- small loans usually less than $300 to start a home-based business -- enabling more than 35,000 people with the chance to lift themselves and, on average, four family members, out of poverty, supporting a total of 175,000 people in communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States.