Whole Foods "Responsibly Grown" sustainability program on CNBC
This week CNBC featured Whole Foods Market for its ability to recognize both non-organic and organic produce suppliers as being "Responsibly Grown" -- a program that rates produce and floral suppliers on a variety of sustainability practices to assign them a "Good, Better or Best" rating and offer their customers transparency into their supply chain.
"Responsibly Grown is a program that we rolled out over the course of the last year to help us add an additional level of transparency," said Matt Rogers, global produce coordinator at Whole Foods, in the CNBC interview. The program is aimed at exploring aspects of agricultural production not covered by the USDA's certified organic program, he said. "We're asking suppliers a series of questions about a range of topics: soil management, pesticide use and pest management, water conservation, energy use and greenhouse gases, topics like farmworker welfare."
Certified organic growers get automatic points in the program. Still, Rogers said, "It's rare, but possible, for a conventional supplier, a nonorganic supplier, to achieve a very high rating in Responsibly Grown by performing very well on all of those topics."
Since the program's launch, the FoodLogiQ team has had the pleasure of working with the Whole Foods Market team responsible for developing the Responsibly Grown. “FoodLogiQ brings innovative solutions and valuable industry knowledge to the table, they care about our success and have been a great partner,” says Rogers.
Tweaks to the program are expected in January. "We recognized there are more and more topics that relate to human health and the environment and how our food is produced that customers are interested in," he said.