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Grocery retailer adds force to ASU's green efforts

March 05, 2010

Safeway Inc. has become the first U.S.-based retail grocery chain to join The Sustainability Consortium – a science-based organization that is jointly administered by ASU and University of Arkansas to ensure a more sustainable global supply chain.

The company joins other retailers and consumer product manufacturers that have become members of the consortium and its product “life cycle” mission which considers the social and environmental factors of production and manufacturing practices.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool for analyzing emissions, waste and the natural resources used from soil to kitchen in different food and non-food items. Safeway is interested in aggregating the data for primary sectors such as agriculture, dairy, packaging and fishery through industrial food processing to retail delivery. This data will be leveraged in creating Safeway's company-wide supply chain policy encouraging sustainable purchasing and manufacturing practices throughout the organization's direct and indirect buying.

"We applaud the consortium’s work and believe its mission is a good fit with Safeway’s efforts to provide its customers with a larger selection of sustainable products and services," said Larree Renda, Safeway's executive vice president, chief strategist and administrative officer.

Renda said the company is committed to becoming “the premier retailer in the grocery sector with an unrivaled reputation for pursuing growth through leadership in environmental, socially responsible and ethical business practices.” 

In joining the consortium, Safeway builds momentum for science with supplier partners such as General Mill’s, Procter & Gamble, and PepsiCo, and will play a leadership role in modeling life cycle inventories with the goal of better understanding the complete scope of industry’s social and environmental footprint.

“I am excited by the commitment and forward thinking of Safeway," said Jay Golden, co-director of The Sustainability Consortium and an assistant professor at ASU. "I look towards their leadership within The Sustainability Consortium as we jointly strive towards our goal of developing the global standard for measuring and reporting the sustainability of consumer products around the globe.”

In developing life cycle criteria, the consortium will consider the impacts that food and agriculture have on those customers who shop for their food and non-food items at Safeway. The consortium will research and publish findings to better identify environmental opportunities throughout the supply chain for Safeway and to create both a map and compass towards how Safeway sources product.

“This important research will build an important bridge to creating the standards for metrics by which our industry measures itself against sustainability goals uncovering key opportunities to eliminate waste and preserve natural resources," said Linda Nordgren, Safeway group vice president of Supply Chain & Strategic Sourcing.


The Sustainability Consortium
The Sustainability Consortium is a part of the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) at Arizona State University (ASU); and the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas. GIOS is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives and home to the first of its kind School of Sustainability; it works to advance research, education, and business practices for an urbanizing world.

The Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas leads organizations in the retail and consumer goods industries toward sustainable practices that support an economy built around people, planet, and profit. The center is part of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and serves multiple disciplines across campus (



Brian Dowling
Safeway vice president of External Affairs

Karen Leland
Global Institute of Sustainability/School of Sustainability