Longo’s ESG Goals and Objectives
Organisation’s sustainability strategy comprises of three key pillars and is a critical aspect of how they fulfill their company’s purpose and mission. The three pillars include: Environmental Stewardship, Responsible Sourcing and Healthy, Happy People.
Environmental Stewardship –The company is committed to reducing the environmental impact of the business by focusing on:
- Reducing and diverting waste
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Operating our buildings sustainably
Responsible Sourcing – By putting Family Standards at the heart of everything they do, they are committed to partnering with suppliers to procure products that are responsibly sourced, made with care and fairly priced.
Healthy, Happy People – The organization empowers its Team Members, engages with Guests and enriches its communities through programs that enable positive change.
Reducing and diverting waste is one of their main sustainability goals. Reducing plastic waste from single use items in stores to packing is one of the most challenging sustainability issues that the organization will be facing for the next few years. Below is a summary of how Longo’s has proactively responded to the Single Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations.
Plastic Bag Elimination
With the environmental impact of plastic waste, the concerns of the stakeholders, and the increase in regulatory compliance regarding plastic, the company is proud to report that at the end of 2022, they eliminated single use plastic checkout bags from all stores.
The estimate is that this will eliminate over 30 million bags per year, equaling over 300 tonnes of plastic.
Challenge: The organization replaced its recycled plastic single use bags with a $0.35 reusable polypropylene-based bag. Unfortunately, polypropylene based bags that have reached the end of life are destined for the landfill. Longo’s is now exploring a take back program that would potentially recycle polypropylene bags into plastics for furniture and car parts. This has been a challenge as large volumes of reusables would be required to make the program successful. They had an instore take back program for our single use plastic bags which were then recycled into new plastic bags and are exploring all options to carry out a similar program for the reusables.
Opportunity: Longo’s offer a selection of reusable bags including a new jute bag. Jute is a natural vegetable fiber and is an incredibly versatile material which is biodegradable. The bag was available in stores last summer and sales have been very strong with positive feedback from the customers.
Foodservice Ware & Cutlery
In 2019, Longo’s eliminated plastic containers with a black base and clear lid from its hot and cold food bar. All takeaway containers currently available in store are made with 100% PET and are fully recyclable.
The company is also in the process of transitioning away from white plastic cutlery to a 100% compostable cutlery option. When selecting an alternative to plastic cutlery, it is important to sample several options and select an option to pilot.
When it came to navigating the Single Use Plastics Prohibitions Regulations, leveraging their partnership with Sobeys and membership with the Retail Council of Canada was vital.
Longo’s is a member of Sobeys Plastics Action Committee, which is a collaborative, cross-functional group of stakeholders from relevant business departments. The role of the Committee is to identify and sequence priority actions to stay ahead of government regulations.
Longo’s is also a member of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) Plastics Committee which focuses on advocacy, communication, and education. RCC has multiple resources available to businesses to assist with navigating through the regulations.
Going Beyond the Single Use Plastics Ban
Longo’s as an organization is going beyond the single use plastic ban and is eliminating hard to recycle black plastic from Private Label items. Unfortunately, in Ontario almost all black plastics are unrecyclable due to the colour. The carbon black pigment is undetectable in the sorting process when using Near Infra-Red (NIR) technology, which is used widely in recycling systems in Ontario. Since the black pigment cannot be removed from the plastic, it cannot be recycled into clear or other coloured plastic. As a result, black plastic ends up in landfill or is incinerated.
Longo’s continues to set an example in sustainable business practices, showing that environmental responsibility is not just a goal but a part of their organizational DNA. We applaud Longo’s commitment to creating positive change and look forward to witnessing the ongoing impact of their sustainability initiatives.