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Verisae serves up sustainability recipe for grocers

I have read about many different sorts of carbon footprint calculators. This is the first time I have read about a calculator focused on a specific industry

I've read about many different sorts of carbon calculators. This is the first time I've read about a calculator focused on a specific industry. I'm sure it's just an oversight on my part.

But, apparently, the Food Marketing Institute has worked with sustainability software developer Verisae to  create a calculator specifically focused on its members that are running retail businesses.

The idea is to help, in particular, smaller grocery chains or food stores that are interested in adopting sustainability policies that that might not have the money to invest in location-specific or company-specific consulting. The new tool will help grocers measure their carbon footprint and establish a baseline, and then run the results or impact of certain reduction scenarios. The thing that makes the calculator industry-specific is its focus on stuff that isn't necessarily the concern of companies outside the retail food and grocery industry, such as how to monitor the usage of refrigerants.

The calculator is free within the members portion of the Food Marketing Institute Web site.

Verisae, based in Minneapolis, started out with a focus on asset management. It has been measuring greenhouse gas emissions since 2002, and it keeps track of all sorts of different environmental information, such as the refrigerants that make up a huge part of the environmental portfolio at any grocery chain. Keeping food fresh, produce moist and frozen foods frozen is a very energy-intensive proposition. Verisae calls its approach the Sustainability Resource Planning platform.

Paul Hepperla, vice president of product strategy and sustainability for Verisae, says the company is working with a number of marquis clients in the retail industry who are leading the way in sustainability initiatives the rely on its environmental portfolio management applications. It has 45 global clients, who are working with 7,500 third-party service providers across 20,000 sites and have 2.5 million assets under management. Some of the Verisae client names you might know include Costco, Target, Tesco, Walmart and Whole Foods.

These are the sorts of customers that have helped inform its new calculator. So, even smaller groceries can benefit from the sustainability strategy of these grocery giants.