BY DEAN HIGUCHI – Down to Earth ALL VEGETARIAN Organic & Natural, Hawaii’s only all-vegetarian food store chain has become the newest partner in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Program to reduce refrigerant emissions, protect the ozone layer and fight climate change.
GreenChill is an EPA partnership with supermarkets to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer and climate change.
“Down to Earth is setting an excellent example of environmental leadership by voluntarily reducing the company’s impact on the earth’s ozone layer and on climate change,” says Deborah Jordan, Air Division Director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Down to Earth’s example should spur other supermarkets and grocery stores in Hawaii to become GreenChill partners and make the same commitment to our environment.”
By joining GreenChill, Down to Earth pledges to go beyond regulatory requirements to protect the ozone layer and combat climate change. It will ensure all of its new and remodeled stores use environmental friendly refrigerants, reduce the amount of refrigerant used and eliminate refrigerant leaks, and adopt green refrigeration technologies, strategies, and practices.
“Down to Earth’s participation in the EPA’s GreenChill program well supports our mission to contribute to a cleaner and safer environment,” says Mark Fergusson, Down to Earth’s chief vegetarian officer (CEO/CFO).
Down to Earth is one of the few all-vegetarian food store chains in the nation. Founded in 1977 in Wailuku, Maui, the company is dedicated to improving the health of island communities. The company is the largest, locally operated natural food store chain in Hawaii. It has five stores: Honolulu, Kailua, and Pearlidge on Oahu, Kahului on Maui, and Hilo on the Big Island. Down to Earth’s mission is to facilitate positive change by promoting healthy living, a vegetarian lifestyle, respect for the environment, and sustainable organic farming while providing high-quality organic and natural products at affordable down to earth prices.
EPA estimates that if supermarkets nationwide reduced their emissions to the GreenChill average emissions rate, the industry would eliminate the equivalent of 22,000,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, equal to removing nearly 4,000,000 passenger vehicles from the road. This would also help restore stratospheric ozone, which protects the Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, a leading cause of skin cancer, cataracts and other ailments.
GreenChill now has a total of 50 partners with almost 5,500 stores in 48 states. For additional information on EPA’s GreenChill Partnership, please visit: www.epa.gov/greenchill.
For more information about Down to Earth go to www.downtoearth.org/