ATLANTA — Sprouts Farmers Market, Phoenix, and Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, El Segundo, Calif., each won two Environmental Achievement Awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill Partnership last week at the Food Marketing Institute's Energy & Store Development Conference here.
GreenChill, a voluntary program launched by the EPA in 2007 to address refrigerant leaks that can harm the ozone layer and contribute to climate change, presents annual awards to retailers participating in the program, which now includes more than 7,300 supermarkets.
Sprouts won GreenChill's most prestigious award — Best Emissions Rate — for having the program's lowest rate of refrigerant leaks over the previous calendar year, with a 6.5% rate. By comparison, the average industry leak rate is 25%, while the average rate for GreenChill members is 13.4%. Sprouts also won the Best Emissions Rate award last year with a rate of 6.9%, which tied with Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh.
“Sprouts proved that even when you get incredibly good with emissions, you can still improve,” said Keilly Witman, manager of GreenChill. Winners of the Best Emissions Rate award, she added, “have just shattered assumptions about what can be achieved in supermarket refrigeration.”
The chain also received the “Best of the Best” award for the best GreenChill-certified store among stores certified in the past 12 months. GreenChill bestows silver, gold and platinum certifications on stores that meet certain leak rate and refrigerant charge standards. The Sprouts store cited as the best certified supermarket, which is located in Thousand Oaks, Calif., received a platinum GreenChill certification, one of only three stores in the U.S. with that designation; it uses refrigeration technology that prevents at least 95% of the refrigerant emissions of a typical supermarket, according to the EPA.
“To win GreenChill's award for the best corporate-wide emissions rate and for the best certified store in the nation is an incredible achievement,” said Witman. “This is the first time in the history of the partnership that both awards have gone to the same company.”
This year GreenChill established a separate award for the Best Emissions Rate by a small retailer. This award went to McQuade's Marketplace, Westerly, R.I., which operates three stores. “McQuade's improved its leak rate by more than 90%,” said Witman, adding that the retailer's use of advanced refrigeration technology and its attention to improved service practices were the keys to its success.