What Kroger Can Do To Protect People, Pollinators and the Planet

by Jason Davidson, Food & Tech Campaign Associate

Beekeepers, farmworkers, and concerned Cincinnati residents gathered outside of Kroger’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, June 22, to urge Kroger to stop selling food grown with bee-killing pesticides and offer more bee and people friendly organic food. Kroger is the largest traditional supermarket company in the U.S. However, it stocks its shelves with food grown with pesticides that are harming pollinators, people and our environment.

At the meeting, Friends of the Earth and SumOfUs delivered 417,000 petition signatures directly to Kroger’s CEO, Rodney McMullen, and 36 percent of shareholders voted in favor of SumOfUs’ shareholder resolution to separate the CEO and Board Chair position to increase oversight.

Bees are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat. Kroger’s store shelves would look drastically different if we lose these critical pollinators. Unfortunately, bees are dying at alarming rates. Toxic pesticides, especially neonicotinoids, are one of the leading drivers of both native and managed bee declines.

Bees are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat.

Clear solutions can help address the crisis bees face, while improving our environment and protecting our health. Studies show that organic agriculture supports up to 50 percent more pollinator species than conventional, chemical-intensive industrial agriculture. Organic agriculture also maintains healthy soil and clean water and is better for our health. Consumer demand for organic food in the U.S. has risen so rapidly that domestic production can’t keep up.

Advocates rallying outside of Kroger’s annual shareholder meeting in Cincinnati.

So why did we rally outside the Kroger shareholder meeting? Because, as the largest traditional supermarket chain in the U.S., Kroger has tremendous power to help protect pollinators and support a sustainable food system. Here are three things Kroger can do to protect pollinators, people and the planet:

1) Establish a pollinator protection policy that includes the phase out of neonicotinoids, glyphosate, chlorpyrifos and other pollinator toxic pesticides as well as implementation of alternative, least-toxic pest management strategies in the company’s supply.

We continue to urge Kroger to establish a pollinator protection policy that phases out neonicotinoids, glyphosate, chlorpyrifos and other pollinator toxic pesticides as well as implementation of alternative, least-toxic pest management strategies in the company’s supply chain.

UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE

A growing body of scientific evidence shows many of the pesticides we routinely use to grow the food we eat are of concern for pollinators. In particular, neonicotinoids (neonics) are a leading factor in pollinator declines,…