Hy-Vee marks Earth Day with new environmental initiatives

A website devoted to sustainability and healthy living, along with the introduction of a comprehensive sustainable seafood policy, demonstrate the company's ongoing commitment to making its stores and its operations more earth-friendly.

Apr 23, 2012, 17:24 ET from Hy-Vee, Inc.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --  Hy-Vee is celebrating Earth Day this week with the launch of two initiatives that underscore its commitment to sustainability as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Hy-Vee 360, a new website devoted to sustainability and healthy living, provides customers and the public with a behind-the-scenes look at Hy-Vee's efforts to become a greener company. The latest of these efforts is Hy-Vee's partnership with FishWise, a non-profit organization that helps retailers develop and implement sustainable seafood policies.

Mike Smith, Assistant Vice President, Real Estate and Sustainability for Hy-Vee, said these two new initiatives join an ever-expanding list of measures Hy-Vee is taking to fulfill its sustainability mission.

"As a company, we are dedicated to promoting the well-being of our customers, our employees, our communities and the global environment," Smith said. "This means not only operating as a good steward of the environment, but also providing our customers with the resources to live more healthy and sustainable lives."

Hy-Vee 360, the sustainability website, employs colorful graphics and pop-up windows to show viewers how eco-friendly initiatives are implemented in a typical Hy-Vee store. Topics covered include green building practices, energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling, local sourcing of products, sustainable packaging, and more. The site also highlights the resources available at Hy-Vee to help customers improve their health, such as in-store dietitians, HealthMarket departments and the NuVal nutritional scoring system. Other site features include consumer tips, quizzes, blogs and answers to frequently asked questions about Hy-Vee's environmental programs.

"We hope the information and ideas presented on Hy-Vee 360 promote ongoing discussion about issues such as recycling, food sourcing, energy efficiency and other topics related to healthy living," Smith said. "We will continue to add content to the site as our sustainability efforts expand into more areas of our operation."

One such area of expansion is sustainable seafood. Smith noted that Hy-Vee already has a seafood procurement policy to ensure that fresh seafood sold in its stores is not only safe for human consumption, but also harvested in a manner that protects the long-term viability of the species. Now the company has taken its support for sustainable seafood to the next level through its partnership with FishWise, a nonprofit organization that promotes the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems through environmentally responsible business practices.

FishWise works with leading seafood retailers, distributors, producers and restaurants to develop seafood sustainability programs consistent with sound science and the best practices in the industry. Smith said the FishWise partnership will help Hy-Vee source product, educate consumers and train employees to carry out a comprehensive seafood sustainability policy.

"We already go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the quality, safety and freshness of our seafood, including instituting a voluntary U.S. Department of Commerce inspection program at our distribution center," Smith said. "Our partnership with FishWise is just one more reason customers can be confident that the products they buy at Hy-Vee are not only good for them, but good for the planet as well." 

Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating 235 retail stores in eight Midwestern states. In 2011 the company recorded total sales of $7.3 billion, ranking it among the top 25 supermarket chains and the top 50 private companies in the nation. Hy-Vee's 60,000 employee-owners bring a "helpful smile in every aisle" to the company's mission of making lives easier, healthier and happier. For more information, visit the website at www.hy-vee.com.

SOURCE Hy-Vee, Inc.