AUSTIN, Texas (December 7, 2006) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI) this week for its commitment to advancing the development of the nation's green power market by awarding the company with its top honor — a Green Power Partner of the Year award.
Whole Foods Market made a landmark purchase of renewable energy credits from wind farms in December 2005 to offset 100 percent of the electricity used in all of its stores, facilities, bake houses, distribution centers, regional offices and national headquarters in the United States and Canada. This purchase of more than 458,000 MWh per year of wind energy credits is the largest corporate purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) or green power in the history of the United States and Canada, making Whole Foods Market the only FORTUNE 500 Company purchasing RECs to offset 100 percent of its electricity use.
“The Green Power Partner of the Year Award is an honor for Whole Foods Market and we are very proud to be recognized,” said Michael Besancon, Whole Foods Market Southern Pacific regional president and Green Mission task force leader. “But more important than the award is the large number of companies that have joined Whole Foods Market in the last year in purchasing Renewable Energy Credits to offset their fossil fuel demand. Together, we are all moving the United States towards energy independence.”
The EPA Green Power Partner of the Year award is a competitive award that recognizes outstanding commitments and achievements in the green power marketplace of individuals or organizations that are significantly advancing the development of renewable electricity by voluntarily purchasing green power or creating innovative supply options for consumers.
Whole Foods Market received the EPA's highest honor for its green power purchases at a December 4th ceremony held in conjunction with the Eleventh National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference in San Francisco. The Company stands alongside Aspen Skiing Company, HSBC-North America, Johnson&Johnson and Starbucks as they were also presented with the same top award.
“Central to Whole Foods Market's core values is caring about our communities and respecting the environment, and this includes adopting wise environmental practices,” said Besancon. “Purchasing wind energy credits to offset 100 percent of Whole Foods Market's electricity is a natural extension of our mission, and it shows that we 'walk our talk' with dedication to be a leader in environmental stewardship.”
With this record purchase, Whole Foods Market avoided more than 700 million pounds of carbon dioxide pollution in the last year. To have the same impact, more than 60,000 cars would have to be taken off the road or over 90,000 acres of trees would have to be planted.
Bill Wehrum of the EPA's Green Power Partnership congratulated whole Foods Market for its outstanding leadership on green power: “Their commitment to green power purchasing proves that an organization can make a real environmental difference.”
Whole Foods Market is making significant green power purchases throughout the United States, which includes a variety of green power products like renewable energy certificates and green power that is sold through utilities and energy marketers. Green power products purchased by the Company use several forms of renewable energy including wind, solar, geothermal, small-hydro, and geothermal. Almost 50 percent of Whole Foods Market's total green power purchases come from wind power. The company also has solar panels to generate renewable-based electricity at five stores in California and New Jersey and just opened a distribution center in Connecticut that has the largest solar roof in the state. In some states such as Colorado and New Mexico, Whole Foods Market is 100 percent green-powered.
In 2004, Whole Foods Market joined the EPA's Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program working to standardize green power procurement as part of best environmental management. Partners in the program pledge to switch to green power for a portion of their electricity needs. The company was previously was recognized in 2004 by winning the Green Power Leadership Award for the company's growing commitment to green power purchasing.