ANAHEIM, Calif. – Like Wal-Mart Stores, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market prefers suppliers that share its environmental standards.
“We make a very strong effort to look at suppliers who share common ideals and objectives with us,” said Steve Hagen, director of national procurement, Fresh & Easy, a division of U.K. -based Tesco, during a session on “green sourcing” at the Natural Products Expo West here on March 13.
When Fresh & Easy executives visit suppliers’ facilities, they don’t just examine products, manufacturing processes and delivery capabilities. “We also look at their building and ask them what they do to give it a low carbon footprint or low energy usage and where they are recycling,” Hagen said. “It’s always a little shocking to some suppliers that we show as much interest in that side of the business as we do in the products they are going to provide us.”
One supplier of energy services whose environmental policies caught Fresh & Easy’s eye is Melink, Milford, Ohio. “Their buildings are LEED certified, they’ve converted their fleet to hybrid vehicles, and they will give their employees money to offset the incremental cost of purchasing a hybrid electric vehicle,” noted Hagen. “That’s the kind of environmental responsibility we look for in a supplier.”