According to annual research into the sustainability and transparency of 20 popular supermarkets in the Netherlands, Albert Heijn scores the highest. While no supermarket received the coveted “A label” (requiring 75% of the criteria to be fulfilled), Albert Heijn was judged to be “well on the way” and therefore received a B label – winning them the “Rank a Brand” Supermarket Award.
Jumbo was hot on their heels with a C label, as was Deen, while six supermarkets received a D label. The majority of supermarkets, including Lidl, Dirk, Vomar, Spar and Aldi, did not fulfill the minimum 15% of the criteria for sustainability and transparency, and therefore received an E label.
Albert Heijn CEO Sander van der Laan commented: “We are delighted that the sustainability efforts of Albert Heijn, and our transparency about these, are being recognized. We will continue our efforts to contribute to a healthy and sustainable society, as well as to report on our performance.”
About Rank a Brand
The research into the sustainability of supermarkets is part of the comparative work of Rank a Brand, which aims to make it possible for customers to choose companies that respect the environment, offer good working conditions, and sell sustainable products. On www.rankabrand.nl, you can see the scores of around 800 companies in various sectors.
Rank a Brand’s Niels Oskam comments: “Supermarkets are falling over themselves to show how Fairtrade, green and animal friendly they are. We compare the figures across the board: from green energy to sustainably caught seafood, and from sustainable palm oil to the animal-friendly, organic and Fairtrade assortment. Then you discover that the majority of supermarkets are not clear about their actual performance.”
Sustainable practices gaining ground
So where are supermarkets trying to make a difference? Several areas of sustainability have made good progress in recent years:
- Fairtrade, Max Havelaar, UTZ CERTIFIED and Rainforest Alliance are all gaining ground as certifications for the fair production of popular items, such as coffee, cocoa, tea, bananas and other tropical products.
- While animal-welfare practices in general need more attention, Albert Heijn and Jumbo have negotiated a minimum of one “Beter Leven” (better life) star for their pork. Eight out of 20 supermarkets also no longer sell endangered species of fish.
- There are positive developments in the soy being used in the production of meat products – sustainable soy does not come at the expense of tropical forests.
- Albert Heijn and Jumbo were the only two supermarkets to publish their actual performance on CO2 emissions and energy usage – Albert Heijn is a frontrunner in its targets on climate.
As one of Ahold’s strategic pillars, responsible retailing is key to our business in all our operating companies. This B label ranking and Supermarket Award are proof that our strategy is paying off at Albert Heijn.