United Natural Foods



Food Retail



313 Iron Horse Way
Providence, RI 02908
T: (401) 528-8634



  • CDP Climate Change score B (Management level)
  • BSR membership
  • Organic Trade Association membership
  • Sustainable Food Trade Association founding member




Thomas Dziki


  • UNFI named to Food Logistics’ 2019 Top Green Providers list for 6th consecutive year




United Natural Foods

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

United Natural Foods is North America’s Premier Food Wholesaler. They transform the world of food for their associates, customers, suppliers and the families they serve every day. With deeper full store selection and compelling brands for every aisle, built on an unmatched heritage in great food and fresh thinking. And smarter food solutions, from fulfillment to insights and beyond, that help entrepreneurs and major brands alike unlock their full potential and transform their businesses – for the better. Better Food. Better Future.

Company Sustainable Activity

According to UNFI, they continue to prioritize their social and environmental commitments. As a larger company, they are cognizant of their footprint and impact on the planet. One of their major initiatives is to reduce waste—particularly food waste—across their operations. With nearly 40 million people facing hunger in the U.S., UNFI thinks it is unacceptable to throw food away. They have taken a hard look at their waste and identified ways to reduce food waste in all their warehouses. This year, the United Natural Foods Foundation gave over $1 million to nonprofits across the U.S. to build better food systems and nurture everyday health. They support better agricultural practices, providing healthy food to vulnerable communities and teaching children healthy eating habits. Training, educating and investing in them ensures they’re continually raising the bar for this company and all their stakeholders. This is what building better is all about. They’ve activated Helping Hands volunteer teams in each of their locations and introduced it to an online volunteer portal to make it easy for associates to give back.

Sustainability Pillars :
→ GHG emission summary 
Key drivers of their  emissions performance include the diesel fuel used in their fleet, electricity and natural gas purchased for their  facilities, and fugitive refrigeration emissions associated with their  extensive facilities and fleet refrigeration systems. In comparison with prior emissions reporting, emissions presented in this year’s report reflect their  larger post-acquisition reporting boundary. 
→ UNFI is committed to the responsible management of materials in their operations and uses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waste Management Hierarchy to inform their  approach. Their  overall waste diversion rate for FY19 was 54%. For the purpose of their report, diversion is defined as all EPA Management Methods that are superior to Energy Recovery.
Animal welfare 
→ United Natural Foods are concerned about the welfare of animals and recognize the necessity of healthy animals to ensure food quality and safety. Prior to the acquisition of SUPERVALU, UNFI had stated that it would strive for 100% of their eggs to be cage free by 2019. They are pleased to share that, for their  legacy natural business, this goal was achieved. They are now in the process of evaluating their  future goals on animal welfare and look forward to sharing the details of their  new animal welfare commitments in 2020.
Sustainable seafood 
→ Fishing is the principal livelihood for over 200 million people around the world and the primary source of protein for around a billion people, yet an estimated 75% of global marine fish stocks are fully or overfished. That’s why UNFI’s legacy conventional sourcing team has been working since 2010 with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to ensure its seafood products come from sustainable and responsible sources. Through this partnership, they have committed to sourcing 100% of their top 20 wild-caught species from fisheries that are either certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), in MSC assessment, or involved in a fishery improvement project (FIP) by 2020. They have further committed to source at least 90% of this volume from fisheries that are MSC certified. UNFI also sources 100% of its private label canned tuna from companies belonging to the International Seafood Sustainability Association, which focuses on improving conservation of global tuna stocks.
In 2019, the UNFI Foundation awarded more than $1 million to 69 nonprofits across the United States to support their  mission of building better food systems and nurturing everyday health.
They are committed to supporting and creating opportunities for minority, women, veteran and LGBTowned businesses in their  supply chain and encourage their  suppliers to do the same. As a national and regional partner of both the National Minority Supplier Development Council and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, UNFI monitors their  spend and engagement with diverse-owned businesses.
Culture and value : As they brought UNFI and SUPERVALU together this year, they celebrated the unique cultures of each. Their core company values were updated to reflect who they are today – showcasing the best of both legacy companies.
Diversity and inclusion : They are committed to celebrating diverse backgrounds and perspectives at UNFI and recognize the value this adds to their  business. They observe holidays and special events that speak to their  associates’ identities, like Hispanic Heritage month, Veteran’s Day, Black History Month, International Women’s Day, Pride Month and more. 
Associate well-being : Providing a safe work environment is an essential part of their  mission and values. At UNFI, they “Do the Right Thing” by putting safety and integrity at the forefront of everything they do.  
Finally, with deeper full store selection and compelling brands for every aisle, built on an unmatched heritage in great food and fresh thinking. And smarter food solutions, from fulfillment to insights and beyond, that helps entrepreneurs and major brands alike unlock their full potential and transform their businesses—for the better


  • 8 of distribution centers have earned LEED Gold
  • Rhode Island headquarters is LEED Silver
  • USDA certified organic fruits and vegetables
  • Commitment to sourcing from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries

Sustainable Development Goals: N/A

How company covers SDGs



  • 90% of rainfall captured
  • 50% reduction in potable water usage
  • 66% reduction in water used for irrigation
  • 54% reduction in energy usage
  • Roof Solar Reflective Index (SRI) greater than 78
  • Overall waste diversion rate for FY19 was 54%
  • 3,565 metric tons of diverted food waste = 13,020 metric tons of CO2e
  • more than 33 million pounds of food donated
  • UNFI Foundation awarded more than $1 million to 69 nonprofits
  • $956 million total spend with diverse-owned businesses
  • became a corporate partner of the Network of Executive Women (NEW)

United Natural Foods is a food retailing company, and waste generated through its processing and is a feedstock for many industries like textile, beauty etc. 100% Organic, they try to act according to their sustainable agenda, with having used both the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) and SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) Standards. However, they lack clarity: they should include the SDGs they target and how it relates to their actions.


Share this Post