Leading foodservice distributor US Foods has been crowned the winner of KKR’s prestigious Eco-Innovation Award.
Global investment firm KKR launched the Eco-Innovation Award in 2016 as a way to incentivize its portfolio companies to become more environmentally friendly. US Foods won the award for its Serve Good program, a new company line in which all products are either sustainably sourced or help reduce waste.
The Eco-Innovation Award is part of KKR’s commitment to responsible investing, which includes financial backing for companies that are trying to solve environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Ken Mehlman, head of KKR’s ESG department, believes that these types of investments can be just as profitable as they are ethical.
“Over the last several years at KKR, we’ve invested 5.2 billion dollars in companies focused on getting the returns our investors expect. But the way they were going to get them—and are going to get them—is by solving important societal problems,“ Mehlman said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Part of the reason these investments are so lucrative is because the demand for green products has substantially increased over the past few years. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66 percent of global consumers said that they were willing to pay extra for eco-friendly brands, a 55 percent increase from 2014.
“At US Foods, we strive to source and deliver delicious foods while also considering the environmental and social impact of our offerings,” said Stacie Sopinka, Vice President of Product Development and Innovation at US Foods. “As demand for sustainable foodservice products continues to grow, we remain committed to providing our customers with an array of innovative offerings to help them succeed. We are honored to be recognized by KKR for these efforts and appreciate the years of partnership.”
It goes to show that voting with one’s wallet can be just as effective (if not more effective) than voting in political elections. Money talks, and businesses are listening by meeting the public’s demand. The Eco-Innovation Award is just further proof of that.