Our core values are the foundation of who we are: Customer-Driven, People-Powered, Community-Engaged and Results-Oriented. These values drive our commitment to People — the customers we serve, the teammates who power our business, the communities we live in and the investors who place their trust in us. They drive our commitment to protect the Planet and reduce our impacts. And they drive our pursuit of sustainable and ethical Products that nourish all of us.

While we are hard at work delivering on our current plans, our sights are always set on the horizon.

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Download Fiscal 2021 Sustainable Business Report (PDF 19.7MB)

Leader Messages

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.”

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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.”

Sustainability at Empire

Focusing on what matters most.

COVID-19 Response

Our executive leadership team set three very clear values at the onset of the pandemic. First, do everything we can to keep our teammates and our customers safe. Second, keep our shelves stocked. Third, never stop supporting our local communities and charitable partners. We’re incredibly proud of how our 134,000 teammates, operating as an essential service, continued to serve local communities across Canada.



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We’re focused on growing and empowering a diverse and inclusive workforce to help our customers and communities thrive.


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We’re reducing our impacts and taking action on climate change to do OurPart™ to protect our planet for future generations.


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We’re doing OurPart™ by delivering sustainable and ethical product choices for our customers.

Fiscal Year 2021 Sustainable Business Report Highlights



Grow and empower a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment to help our customers and communities stay healthy and strong.



strategic partnerships are contributing to advancing our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and commitments

Our strategic partnerships include: the BlackNorth Initiative, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC), Catalyst, Holland Bloorview Dear Everybody Campaign, Pride at Work Canada, and Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI).



women representation at the senior management level (senior vice president and vice president)

Over fiscal 2021, women representation at the senior management level (senior vice president and vice president) has increased to approximately 34%, a year-over-year growth rate of 6%. At the director level, women representation has increased to approximately 37%, a year-over-year growth rate of 8%.



offices, RSCs, stores and franchisees leaders completed the initial launch Conscious Inclusion foundational training to set the stage for an organizational wide training

In fiscal 2021, we rolled out our inclusion training program. This interactive learning experience raises awareness and provides practical tools to mitigate the effects of unconscious bias in decision making and workplace interactions and has been a key foundation in setting clear expectations for the safe and inclusive culture we want to create for our teammates.

Community Investment


donated by the company and raised in the community in support of our A Family of Support: Child & Youth Mental Health Initiative

In fiscal 2021, together with the Sobey Foundation, we launched A Family of Support: Child & Youth Mental Health Initiative to support 15 early intervention mental health programs with 13 children’s hospital foundations across Canada.

Community Investment


meals made possible across Canada through our various community partnerships

Our annual December Holiday Food Bank Drive is one of the many ways that, together with our customers and more than 1,500 stores, we’re working to address food insecurity in communities across Canada.

Community Investment


community organizations supported through the Community Action Fund

Launched in fiscal 2020 as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued the Community Action Fund in fiscal 2021, providing our stores with funds to donate right into their local community immediately. As our “on-the-ground” experts, our stores see the needs in their community first-hand.



Reduce our impacts, take action on climate change and do OurPartTM to protect our planet for future generations.



single-use plastic checkout bags removed from circulation from our stores across Canada

8 out of 10 times, our customers are bringing their own reusable bags or not using a bag at all when shopping in our stores



reduction in the amount of surplus food generated per square foot in our retail stores (since 2016)

We’re making progress on our journey to reduce the amount of food waste in our operations by 50% by 2025.



trees planted in partnership with One Tree Planted

We’ve partnered with One Tree Planted to plant trees across Canada as part of our efforts to take action on climate change. So far, we have committed to planting over 44,000 trees.



Do OurPartTM by delivering sustainable and ethical product choices for our customers.



of the palm oil used in our Own Brands products is certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO)

As of December 2020, 98.6% of the palm oil used for our Own Brands products was fully physically traceable CSPO. The remaining 1.4% was certified through credits.



of our Own Brands fresh and frozen seafood, by weight, is third-party certified sustainable and/or recommended by Ocean Wise

96% (by weight) of our Own Brands fresh and frozen seafood offered in stores is certified as sustainable (e.g. Marine Stewardship Council, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and Best Aquaculture Practices) and/or recommended by Ocean Wise.



year-over-year increase in the number of women owners and/or business leads within our network of local supplier partners

We are proud to have grown the number of local supplier partners with women as owners or business leads from 142 in fiscal 2020 to 225 in fiscal 2021.

Empire is a proudly Canadian company, with more than 114 years of experience in the food retail business.

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