Supermarket chain Kroger Co. enacted a policy in late June 2018 to protect honeybees and other pollinators, which included a promise to phase out the sale of neonicotinoid pesticides in its stores and garden centers by 2020. 
Just a week before the company’s announcement, Kroger shareholders called for accountability for the company’s inaction on phasing out pesticides that are toxic to both pollinators and people. 
Live plants sold at Kroger garden centers aren’t currently treated with neonicotinoids while they’re growing. The retailer’s suppliers are seeking out alternatives for the remaining products. 
Kroger will also track, measure, and report on the progress the company is making. The retailer also plans to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other scientific bodies to evaluate any future changes to the policy.
In a statement, Kroger Co. said:
“The Kroger Co. recognizes the global honeybee population is vulnerable, with research indicating that a cause may include the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids.
Due to the potential risk to the honeybee population, we are committing to eliminate the sourcing of live outdoor plants in our stores and garden centers that have been treated with pesticides containing these neonicotinoids by the year 2020.
This policy is inclusive of outdoor plants known to be pollinated by honeybees or known to attract honeybees.”
The retailer went on to say:
“Kroger remains open to continued engagement and dialogue with stakeholders on this important topic and will revisit and update its policy in the future.” 
Kroger is home to one of the largest organic produce departments in the United States, representing nearly 20% of the U.S.’s annual organic produce business.
It was also one of the first retailers to reject GMO GM AquAdvantage® salmon.
Featured image source: Tom Banse / Northwest News Network