Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Hannaford Commits to 100% Renewables by 2024

Hannaford’s Cony Street store in Augusta, ME is North America’s first LEED Platinum supermarket with solar on the roof. (James Helms, Hannaford’s multimedia specialist)

Jessie Haas

Hannaford Supermarkets, based in Scarborough, Maine, has announced a plan to be fully powered by renewable energy by 2024. The announcement was made in April, in recognition of Earth month.

Hannaford has been working since the beginning of the decade to reduce energy use in its stores, using efficiency techniques such as installing LED lights, night shades, doors on refrigerated cases, and state-of-the-art refrigeration systems. The supermarket chain already uses 30-percent renewable energy, by partnering with over 30 community solar projects across Maine, Massachusetts, and New York and has converted 86.4MW of its electricity usage after efficiency upgrades to solar. It has rooftop solar on ten of its 184 stores. Hannaford will fully convert to solar by integrating community and large-scale solar projects in Maine and New York.

George Parmenter leads sustainability efforts for Hannaford and says the chain “has always been serious about sustainability—and over time, it’s become an integral business function. But there is a sense of urgency as we witness the planet in the midst of a climate crisis. Hannaford wants to lead where we can to make the most impact—and renewable energy is just another step in our journey.”

Other steps taken by Hannaford in the past include: becoming the first grocery retailer in the country to introduce reusable bags; building North America’s first LEED Platinum supermarket, in Augusta, Maine, in 2009, halving the energy usage for grocery stores of its size; installing a first-in-the-nation refrigeration system using natural refrigerant that is environment-friendly and which earned Hannaford a “Best of the Best” award from the EPA’s Green Chill Partnership in 2013; introducing and expanding EV charging stations in store parking lots for a total of 163 plugs and 31 stores and counting.

In 2021, Hannaford became the first large-scale grocery retailer in its marketplace to achieve zero food waste, by donating or diverting all food at risk of going to waste. It is the first large retail grocer in the Northeast to meet that goal. The company first focused on strategic ordering and management at stores to prevent over-buying. Employees learn how to handle food to avoid damage and exposure to temperature variation. Each store follows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Food Recovery Hierarchy, which prioritizes donation to food-insecure people, then local farmers, and finally food-to-energy conversion. According to the EPA, up to 40 percent of all food in the United States is wasted and ends up in landfills, where it becomes a potent generator of harmful methane gas. Reducing food waste is the number three solution identified by Project Drawdown for reversing global warming. In its effort to move toward zero waste, Hannaford donated over 25 million pounds of food to hunger-relief agencies in 2020 alone. The company recycled 101 million pounds of cardboard and 3.3 million pounds of plastic in 2020. It diverted 32.7 million pounds of food waste to biodigesters to create clean energy.

One hundred percent of the seafood sold at Hannaford stores comes from sustainable sources. The company says, “Hannaford will only sell products harvested using legal methods in regulated environments and encourages our suppliers and the fishing community to invest in gear and farming technologies that reduce adverse seafood production impact on the environment. We have an extensive program and work proactively with reputable groups.” These include the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the Global Aquaculture Alliance.

Hannaford’s sustainability commitment has received praise from national leaders. Maine senators Susan Collins and Angus King noted in a joint statement, “The effects of climate change are evident across our state and have serious implications for the livelihoods of Maine people. Hannaford’s commitment to using 100 percent renewable power by 2024 . . . will provide a boost to community and large-scale clean energy projects as well as help protect our environment.”

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment and is Vice-Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. She said, “(Hannaford’s) commitment will put us closer to achieving net-zero emissions and creating a healthier, more equitable, and more resilient economy. I hope their pledge inspires other companies to embrace renewable energy and sustainable practices. Clean energy is the future, it is necessary, and it is the key to fighting climate change.”

Hannaford Supermarkets operates 184 stores in the Northeast, in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Jessie Haas has lived in a tiny, off-grid cabin in Westminster, VT, for nearly 40 years, with husband Michael J. Daley. She is the author of over 40 books for children and adults.

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