Whole Foods*

Summary of Whole Foods* grade

Pollinator Health Policy

Pollinator Health Policy

15 out of 45 points

Explanation of points

Whole Foods Market reports that it has met and exceeded Friends of the Earth’s ask to increase certified organic food and beverages to more than 15 percent of overall offerings or sales by 2025.

Whole Foods Market does not have a written, publicly available pollinator health policy for food and beverage supply chains that addresses the need to reduce use of pesticides of concern to pollinator and human health. A strong policy would include shifting to least-toxic farming approaches in order to avoid regrettable substitution of one toxic pesticide with another. The ecological farming methods that underpin organic farming, integrated pest management and regenerative agriculture reduce farmers’ overall need for pesticides.

Commitment to reduce pesticide use
0 out of 15 points
Avoiding regrettable substitutes
0 out of 5 points
Commitment to least-toxic approaches in non-organic supply chains
0 out of 10 points
Commitment to organic
15 out of 15 points
Implementation

Implementation

56 out of 90 points

Explanation of points

Whole Foods Market, via its partnership with the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), received credit for a pilot-scale commitment to track pesticide use in its supply chain and to support growers to shift to least-toxic approaches. EFI certification requires an implemented integrated pest management (IPM) plan that includes a stepped approach starting with biological controls followed by cultural, physical, and finally chemical responses. EFI growers also use the Pesticide Risk Tool (PRT) developed by the IPM Institute to track all pesticide applications. The Pesticide Risk Tool tracks total pounds of pesticides used and also helps growers identify high risk uses of pesticides to reduce.

Whole Foods reports that a portion of produce is certified by Fairtrade USA, Fairtrade America, Rainforest Alliance and/or the Equitable Food Initiative under the company’s Sourced for Good Program. These certifications include meaningful criteria on integrated pest management, and in some cases, have restrictions on pesticides of concern. 

Whole Foods Market reports that it has met and exceeded Friends of the Earth’s ask to increase certified organic food and beverages to more than 15 percent of overall offerings or sales.

Whole Foods Market reports supporting U.S. organic growers in a number of ways. Whole Foods Market offers a Local Producer Loan Program for loans between $10,000 – $100,000 to support small-scale local and organic farmers. Whole Foods Market reports providing price floors for farmers via its Whole Trade program, which includes organic farmers, and supports farmer training and research on organic practices via support for The Organic Center, the Organic Farming Research Foundation, California Certified Organic Farmers Foundation and the Ecological Farming Association.

Whole Foods Market reports advocating for public policies that support the expansion of U.S. organic agriculture. The company reported to Friends of the Earth that, since 1990, it has advocated for strong organic standards through engagement with the USDA National Organic Program and the National Organic Standards Board, including providing written comment, oral testimony, and general background feedback to USDA on numerous occasions. Whole has also advocated for increased funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), increased funding for the National Organic Program, and stronger enforcement of organic standards via participation with the Organic Trade Association.

Track pesticide use in supply chain
3 out of 10 points
Measurably reduce pesticide use
0 out of 15 points
Prioritize least-toxic approaches in non-organic supply chains
8 out of 20 points
Prioritize USDA certified organic
25 out of 25 points
Support domestic organic growers
15 out of 15 points
Support public policies
5 out of 5 points
Transparency & Accountability

Transparency & Accountability

7 out of 21 points

Explanation of points

Whole Foods Market is a certified organic retailer and has a publicly available commitment to expand organic offerings on its website. Whole Foods Market has extensive content on its website focused on educating consumers about the value of organic food and farming to human health, pollinators and the environment. Whole Foods also has a pollinator health webpage and works with collaborators to help raise awareness about the critical role of pollinators in the food system.

Whole Foods Market does not have publicly available commitments or policies related to reducing use of pesticides of concern to pollinators and human health in its supply chain. Whole Foods Market does not appear to include reduction of pesticides of concern to pollinators and human health or expansion of organic offerings in company Key Performance Indicators or other formal sustainability criteria. Whole Foods Market does not have educational content on the value of decreasing use of toxic pesticides for pollinator health.

Make policies and commitments publicly available
2 out of 6 points
Oversight
0 out of 5 points
Educate consumers
5 out of 10 points
Collaboration

Collaboration

5 out of 10 points

Explanation of points

Whole Foods Market has communicated with Friends of the Earth in the past year.

Complimentary Home & Garden Policies

Complimentary Home & Garden Policies

5 out of 9 points

Explanation of points

Whole Foods Market confirmed with Friends of the Earth that the company does not sell any home & garden products containing neonicotinoids or glyphosate.

Whole Foods Market has not made a public commitment to reduce or phase out use of neonicotinoids in live goods and garden plants.

Policy for live goods
0 out of 4 points
Policy for on-shelf pesticide products
5 out of 5 points
Bonus Points

Bonus Points

out of 40 points

Explanation of points

*Although Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017, we graded these companies separately given that Whole Foods still maintains distinct policies and a substantially different business model. As of September, 2021, 502 of Amazons’ 538 brick-and-mortar grocery locations are Whole Foods stores. The remainder are Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores.

88 Points

B-
Grade

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