Whole Foods Market is walking the talk. Or maybe they’re actually talking the walk.

By Monica Kanojia on Oct 09, 2015

How the grocery store’s all-around, and all-over approach to corporate-wide sustainability promotes customer loyalty and engages employees

The Food Marketing Institute recently held its Energy and Store Development Conference in San Diego, CA where facility managers, designers, and energy modelers from the retail industry had the opportunity to learn from leading experts about trends in supermarket design and energy management strategies.

Whole Foods Market and Better Buildings partnered to present on the importance of communicating sustainability initiatives and successes across an organization. During the general session, Making Your Green Clear: Marketing Your Sustainability Accomplishments, Aaron Daly of Whole Foods Market and Holly Carr of the Department of Energy encouraged session participants to develop an open channel of communication between project teams and company public relations and communications staff to drive change and ensure efficiency is understood at all levels of engagement.

Historically, Whole Foods Market has been at the forefront of the sustainable food movement with efforts originating from the company’s interdependent business model, which incorporates partnerships with vendors and suppliers, customers, investors, community, and employees. Each segment of its business model plays a role in the company’s sustainability storytelling – be it the green commitments made by its contracted suppliers or the corporation’s focus on driving a mission-oriented employee base - in an effort to drive awareness of initiatives being implemented.

How do you talk the walk?

  • All team members are educated through internal communications and trainings and are empowered to take on in-store sustainability initiatives on their own.
  • In-store signage and colorful displays advertising sustainable products educate and increase satisfaction among customers, who appreciate supporting a company with green goals.
  • Leveraging media coverage and industry partnerships is paramount to communicating sustainability goals and success stories and each has assisted in amplifying Whole Foods Market’s efforts.

Aaron Daly’s message was clear: to gain more success out of sustainability programs make sure people know about their impact and be sure that corporate communications efforts support the growth of the program and further corporate and community goals.  

You can explore the proven models Whole Foods Market has shared with the Energy Department through its partnership in the Better Buildings Challenge in the Better Buildings Solution Center and read all about their progress to save energy and money.