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As Kroger Promises Pollinator Protections, Demonstrators Want Hard Commitment

Demonstrators stand across the street from the Kroger shareholders' meeting at Music Hall.
Bill Rinehart
Demonstrators stand across the street from the Kroger shareholders' meeting at Music Hall.

Kroger says it will support and encourage farming practices that protect pollinators, like bees. One environmental activist group says that's a good start, but they want more specifics.

The announcement comes as shareholders met Thursday at Music Hall. Across the street, demonstrators were hoping to shape the buying habits of the world's largest supermarket company.

Tiffany Finck-Haynes with Friends of the Earth says they've been asking Kroger to do business with food producers who don't use pollinator-killing pesticides. "Specifically neonicotinoids, organophosphates and glyphosate. We're urging Kroger to work with its supply chain to phase out the use of these pesticides and increase domestic organic offerings because organic agriculture supports 50% more pollinator species," she says.

The supermarket company released a statement Thursday afternoon saying it would expand its commitment to protect pollinators like butterflies and bees. "Kroger supports and encourages industry and supplier efforts to limit non-essential use of these pesticides and to apply them in a manner consistent with all applicable regulations and guidelines. We support and encourage supplier efforts to move away from pesticides in favor of alternative pest management," the statement reads.

In an e-mailed response, Finck-Haynes says Kroger is taking a step in the right direction, "but this non-binding and vague policy does not go far enough to address the scale of the pollinator crisis."

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Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.