A Letter From Our President & CEO


The expectation that employees, customers and investors place on corporate citizenship, or sustainable business practices, rightly continues to grow and evolve. Leaders must be agile to ensure we can uphold our values, do the right thing and nurture a strong future for a kinder capitalism.

I firmly believe that a kinder capitalism doesn’t weaken any of capitalism’s best attributes. In order to give back to communities, to attract customers and shareholders as a brand leader, to attract employees, or to expand and to grow — companies need to be profitable and drive exceptional value for their shareholders. Healthy companies benefit economies, fostering competition and innovation. However, customers also clearly want companies to step up and take a more active role in making the world a better place. As leaders, we can strike the balance to prioritize business and community health. Our company, for example, in the last four years, has grown our profits and become bigger and stronger while embracing corporate citizenship.

At Empire, our purpose “to be a family nurturing families”, and our values drive us forward. This year, we’re taking our sustainability reporting to the next level by releasing our first Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Index. This disclosure provides transparency and data on Empire’s progress in core environmental, social and governance areas in our business and industry.

Looking ahead, we will keep learning and evolving. In fiscal year 2023, we will launch our next three-year Sustainable Business Strategy, expanding our focus on important areas like reducing plastics and waste, climate change, diversity, equity and inclusion, and growing our community impact.

As our 2021 Sustainable Business Report shows, Empire understands that making meaningful investments in our people, our communities and our planet does more than demonstrate our values in action; it’s also good for business, by improving profitability and shareholder return.

I know we have further to go — and welcome your thoughts and feedback on how we can do better along the way.


signed “Michael Medline”

  • Michael Medline
  • President & CEO
  • Empire Company Limited
  • August, 2021
field grass-land

Q&A on Empire’s Sustainable Business Strategy with Mohit Grover, SVP Innovation, Sustainability & Strategy, Empire Company Limited

August 2021

Sustainability leadership and accountability is firmly embedded in our governance approach. Over the last few years, we have supplemented our existing and new environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives with a focused team, reporting directly to the President & CEO, that oversees the success of our goals. We’ve also introduced new reporting mechanisms and disclosures that are now standard.

SVP Innovation, Sustainability & Strategy
Mohit Grover

mohit-leader mohit-leader-mobile

Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) has deep roots in our history, and the tenets of ESG have been a part of our organization since Sobeys started 114 years ago in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Our values have always driven our commitments to ESG and our entire team — from our Board of Directors to our frontline teammates stands behind the three pillars of our sustainability framework: People, Planet, Products.

In addition to the oversight provided by our board and executive teams, we have a dedicated national Sustainability Steering Committee chaired by our President & CEO to set our priorities and approve our strategies and actions. An important part of my role as the executive lead on sustainability is to ensure our approach aligns with business strategy and is integrated into all our operations.

With sustainability leadership and accountability firmly embedded in our governance approach, over the last few years, we have supplemented our existing and new ESG initiatives with a focused team, reporting directly to the President & CEO, that oversees the success of our goals including introducing standard reporting mechanisms and disclosures where required.

In fiscal year 2021 we continued our sustainability journey by improving our understanding of material ESG topics that impact our business and matter most to our stakeholders, as well as through disclosure of our key performance metrics in line with the Food Retailers & Distributors Standard from the Sustainability Accounting and Standards Board (SASB).

As this report shows, we focused on a range of critical initiatives as part of our continuing ESG journey. Some of our proudest moments are in the work we are doing on diversity in our organization, expanding our efforts to cultivate a fair, equitable and inclusive environment for all. We are also going deeper on our work to remove avoidable plastic from our business, specifically focusing on avoidable and hard-to-recycle plastics that we source for our stores and in our Own Brands packaging. The team has also undertaken an extensive assessment of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our business to establish a GHG inventory, with 2019 as our baseline. This will define solid ground for us to set targets and reduce our overall impacts.

We’ve heard from our stakeholders on issues they care about — and that we care about too. On emerging issues, we are increasing our understanding of our risks and gaps on the topics of most concern for our stakeholders and our organization, such as water usage and management in our operations, and biodiversity through our supply chain and at our sites. On chemicals management, we’ve taken important steps, like using BPA-free receipt paper and transitioning to BPA/BPS-free paper in our Safeway stores in 2021. We’re also exploring how we can foster a more just and ethical supply chain — setting clear guidance and expectations of our supplier partners on serious global and regulatory issues.

We’ve taken a significant step with our data-driven approach to disclosure this year, and we’re committed to continuing to improve our disclosures in the years ahead. So, in addition to SASB, there are other frameworks and standards we are considering incorporating into our future reports.

We know we have work to do in gathering data to set specific targets in key priority areas like single-use plastics and GHG emissions. Consistent with our commitment to be upfront and transparent, in fiscal year 2022 we will also be very focused on setting bold but achievable targets.

Internally, we are embedding some of our Sustainable Business mandates within performance management goals for our senior management — and tying the results to management performance bonuses and incentives. It is great to see our internal efforts reach this level of maturity and focus. I’m so proud of the work everyone in our organization is doing to accomplish our ESG goals.