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Kudrinko’s earns first sustainability certification in Canada

Website.Kudrinkos.Grocery Store Certification.April 2015Kudrinko’s recently achieved a first for grocery store sustainability in all of Canada – just in time for Earth Day.

The independent, family-owned store in Westport, Ont. earned the first Grocery Stewardship Certification in the country.

The certification from United States-based Manomet Center for Conservation Services was developed to make the grocery sector more sustainable. The GSC program helps grocery store leadership reduce their environmental footprint through continuous improvement and employee engagement.

Kudrinko’s has recently made a lot of progress focused on energy – reducing carbon emissions, electricity consumption, food waste and storm water.

“I like to be a leader in the space of sustainability and the grocery industry in Canada,” said Neil Kudrinko, owner of Kudrinko’s Ltd. He added that he feels fortunate to be an independent operator with the ability to make the commitment to sustainability and then exercise the necessary changes.

The GSC recognition comes with having achieved a level of points towards certification. If a store is corporately-owned, the score has to reach 150 points to be eligible. Independent operators must achieve 100 points to be certified. Kudrinko’s exceeded both and scored 198 in its first attempt at certification.

In addition to environmental measures, the store scored high points for being active within its community. Kudrinko leads food education tours for local schools, is a consultant for the Two Rivers Food Hub, prints its flyers on 100 per cent recycled paper, and provided a multi-year funding commitment for visitor upgrades at Foley Mountain Conservation Area, among other initiatives.

“Kudrinko’s is a leader in the grocery sector for communicating the importance of sustainable operations to its employees and customers and for demonstrating sustainable practices at the store,” said Peter Cooke, Program Manager, Sustainable Economies Program with Manomet.

Kudrinko said achieving the certification gives him a new commitment to increase the energy savings at the store. He said earning the certification and leading the way as an independent in Canada shows the opportunity that lies ahead as an industry. “It provides a chance to show how we can make a difference, making the exception the norm,” Kudrinko said, noting he encourages other members of the industry to do the same.

Recently-installed dairy and meat cases elevate that to the next level. Not only do they add to the shopping experience for customers, but the new coolers fit into the overall merchandising scheme of the store, able to hold more product which allowed Kudrinko’s to expand selection. Kudrinko said they are 80 per cent more efficient than the old ones, which dated back to 2001. The cases include details that make a big difference such as LED lights and roller shades for at night to keep the cool air contained.

The cases may seem like a small step forward, but Kudrinko said part of the overall customer experience includes making shopping comfortable for patrons, improving enjoyment and their time spent at the store. “We hear a lot of people expressing how nice it is to see a grocery store show their commitment to community – and to the environment,” he said. “That’s important for a lot of people.”

But he said it also helps keep the store competitive. The upgrades translate into the store saving more than 40,000 kilowatt hours per year, or about 10 per cent of the overall energy consumption. “Investments like this continue to deliver competitive pricing to customers,” he said.

Now, Kudrinko is setting his sights even higher. The Township of Rideau Lakes is now accepting plastic shopping bags and skid wrap – which he said is going to allow a further reduction to the store’s waste stream.

To find out more about other ways which Kudrinko’s has shown its commitment to sustainability and the environment, please see other relevant posts, such as the store’s latest Carbon Reports.

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Kudrinko recognized for leading Generation Next

Low Res,Neil Kudrinko.GenerationNextAward

Neil Kudrinko, owner of Kudrinko’s Ltd. in Westport, is honoured to be named a recipient of the national Generation Next Award. He accepted the award Nov. 24 in Toronto.

Neil Kudrinko consistently thinks about the future when it comes to his grocery store. Now he’s getting recognized for it.

Kudrinko accepted a Generation Next Award from Canadian Grocer at the Food Industry Association of Canada’s Golden Pencil Awards in Toronto on Nov. 24.

He was thrilled to receive the award, which recognizes his efforts in transforming the family-owned, independent Kudrinko’s Ltd. in Westport, Ont. into a modern energy efficient example of sound business practices. Kudrinko was on hand to accept the accolade, and was lauded for his company’s innovation and making a difference.

Kudrinko was chosen from other leaders across the country for the work completed on environmental retrofits to the store at 22 Main St. in Westport. Not only that, but Kudrinko is also interested in fostering more environmental responsibility with others in the industry. “Hopefully, this is along the lines of where our generation will go,” he said. “I don’t want to be judged by my balance sheet, I want to know that the changes made have a greater benefit and impact for the planet and our children.”

The Generation Next Award honours rising stars of the grocery store industry, exciting thinkers under the age of 40 who work in grocery head offices, at the store level or for a consumer packaged goods company or other grocery supplier.

Commencing several years ago, Kudrinko’s started tracking its energy consumption and refrigerant losses, replacing inefficient compressors and HVAC systems, improving insulation of the building envelope, and retrofitting its freezers with LED lights. Outside of the store walls, Kudrinko’s has installed off-grid solar parking lot lighting, and incorporated ground water bioswales into its recent parking lot project. Just one example illustrates the impact of the retrofits: Kudrinko managed to cut the store’s carbon emissions from 173 metric tons down to just 93 metric tons annually.

“We aim to continue seeing how far we can go in terms of reducing our environmental impact and being more conscious of our footprint,” he said. Kudrinko was also a finalist for the award in 2011. His nomination this time around focused on the sustainability aspect of the business, energy-efficiency retrofits, as well as his consulting work with the new local food hub.

Kudrinko also sits on many national and international committees dedicated to grocery and food marketing. For instance, he is an active member on the energy and store development conference committee with the Food Marketing Institute.

That organization is the largest trade organization in North America – and Kudrinko is one of only two Canadians, and the only independent grocer, accepted onto the committee.

The Generation Next Awards are presented by Canadian Grocer in association with the Golden Pencil Awards. Along with the award, Kudrinko will also receive recognition in a profile piece published by Canadian Grocer magazine. To learn about other accolades earned for green initiatives, please click here.

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