It’s been a year of news headlines for Meijer as we launched several sustainable initiatives, beginning with an announcement in January 2022 about a new commitment to reduce our absolute carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2025.
As a company, we’ve moved forward on a variety of fronts, from investing in solar and wind farms to unveiling new beach-cleaning drones, participating in the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup Program, and deploying two all-electric semitrucks as the first retailer in the nation to track the trucks’ performance in a cold-weather environment.
The Grand Rapids Business Journal took notice. It honored Erik Petrovskis, our Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability, as one of its 2022 Newsmakers of the Year.
“I see this as a team award. I was just the fortunate one to be able to communicate and discuss the results,” said Erik, who, since joining Meijer in 2014, has worked to expand our corporate-wide sustainability program.
“What's truly rewarding is to see how we’ve integrated sustainability across business areas in the company, from our real estate team developing brownfield sites, to our design team building highly energy-efficient stores, to our logistics team running high-efficiency fleets,” Erik said.
“Every team has its initiatives that roll up into bigger company goals.”
His team leads the Sustainability Council at Meijer and supports many departments with their strategic goals around sustainability, ensuring everyone is working toward a common vision for a more sustainable future.
In addition to his work for Meijer, Erik has served as a lecturer and adjunct associate professor at the University of Michigan, teaching water and wastewater engineering sustainable engineering principles. Recently, he was asked to advise graduate student projects focused on environmental sustainability.
“I’ve always enjoyed having one foot in the academic world while I do applied work with Meijer. It’s a great way to stay on top of the latest developments in the field,” said Erik, who has partnered with several Midwest universities to collaborate on Meijer green infrastructure projects by collecting data and demonstrating the viability of new sustainability technologies.
“It’s our mission to enrich lives in the communities we serve,” Erik said, “and improving our environment is a part of that mission that originated in Fred Meijer’s desire to leave the world a better place than when he entered it. Sustainability is a part of the company’s DNA. This is who we are, and this is what we do. That’s why it’s so easy to talk about, because it’s genuine.”