Metro launches Green Apple School Program to fund healthier living and environmental initiatives

    Grocer to begin charging for shopping bags in Ontario and Quebec

    TORONTO, May 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Metro furthered its commitment to the
environment today by introducing a multi-faceted program that will help the
company reach its broader environmental and sustainability goals. The
highlight of the program is the launch of a $2 million Green Apple School
Program. The program will officially launch on June 1, 2009, when all Metro
stores across Ontario and Quebec begin collecting the five cent fee for
shopping bags. This initiative will help reduce the number of plastic bags
currently in circulation and will go a long way to enable Metro to reach its
target of a 50 per cent reduction by the end of 2010.
    "This measure will enable us to reduce the impact of our operations on
the environment and promote healthy living habits," said Robert Sawyer,
executive vice president and chief operating officer, Metro Inc. "The Green
Apple School Program encourages thousands of students to contribute to a
solution that will ultimately improve their local communities."


    Metro Inc. is allocating $1 million per province to support the
newly-created Green Apple School Program. Developed specifically to encourage
schools to actively participate in environmental stewardship, grants offered
by the Green Apple School Program are driven by conservation and healthy
living proposals submitted by students and teachers.


    Today's announcement builds on a history of leading environmental steps
taken by the company including being the first grocer to offer reusable bags
in 2006. Since its inception, 20 per cent of Metro's customers are using
reusable bags. Other initiatives include addressing air pollution by enforcing
speed limiters on all delivery trucks since 2006 and launching its in-house
awareness program "Leave It Greener" to encourage its employees to be more
environmentally conscious at work.
    Communications to shoppers about the new fee-for-bag process and the
Green Apple School Program will be done via in-store signage, weekly flyers
and a dedicated website.


    With annual sales of nearly $11 billion and over 65,000 employees, Metro
Inc. is a leader in the food and pharmaceutical sectors in Quebec and Ontario,
where it operates a network of close to 600 food stores under several banners
including Metro, Metro Plus, A&P, Loeb, Super C and Food Basics, as well as
over 250 pharmacies under the Brunet, Clini Plus, The Pharmacy and Drug Basics
banners. For further information, please visit

                         GREEN APPLE SCHOOL PROGRAM

    The Green Apple School Program is a specially designed grant program that
engages young people in Ontario and Quebec to consider a healthier environment
and make healthier living conscious choices - rewarding them for their efforts
to make a positive impact.

    When will this program launch?

    - The Green Apple School Program is effective June 1, 2009
    - Applications will be accepted starting in September and winning
      projects could be announced as early as the end of September

    Who can participate in this program?

    - All elementary and secondary schools from School Boards in Ontario and

    How does the program work?

    - Applicants will be asked to describe the proposed project and provide
      Metro with detailed examples on how the venture will contribute to
      healthier living in their school and community

    Initiatives can fall under the following categories:
              - Community Clean up (park, street, beach)
              - Tree plantings
              - Energy conservation
              - Beautification projects
              - Community gardens
              - 'Eco friendly' purchasing
              - Waste reduction
              - Community education
              - Transportation

    How will grants be selected?

    - Healthier environmentally-conscious and action-oriented schools in
      Ontario and Quebec will have the opportunity to access $2 million worth
      of grants ($1 million per province)

                          ENVIRONMENTAL INVOLVEMENT

    Metro believes that it has a duty to respect and protect the environment.
Below is an outline of Metro's environmental initiatives.

    - In January 2006, Metro became the first food distributor in Quebec to
      offer customers reusable bags for only one dollar with Metro stores in
      Ontario following suit in June 2006. Metro's bag is made from 100%
      post-consumer recycled materials and is also 100% recyclable at the end
      of its useful life.

    - Two years after the launch of its reusable bag, Metro made another
      significant environmental act by adhering to the Voluntary Code of Good
      Practice for the Use of Shopping Bags. This code was adopted on
      April 21, 2008 by the Association des détaillants en alimentation du
      Québec, the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, the Conseil
      québécois du commerce de détail, Recyc-Québec and Eco Entreprises
      Québec. It aims to better manage the use of paper and plastic shopping

    - In 1998, Metro drafted and implemented an environmental policy that
      stipulates the Corporation take the necessary measures to act in
      accordance with environmental laws and regulations and continuously
      improve its environmental record.

    - Another way that Metro is reducing the amount of plastic being sent to
      landfills is by offering a return-to-retail plastic bag recycling
      program in its Ontario stores. Customers are encouraged to return any
      plastic shopping bag to Metro for environmentally- friendly recycling
      regardless of whether the bag came from a Metro store or not. This
      program will shortly be in place as well in Quebec.

    - In the last two years, Metro has diverted over 1000 metric tonnes of
      plastic film from landfill as a result of its programs and efforts by
      customers and staff.

    - On Earth Day in 2008, the "Leave It Greener" program was expanded to
      the entire company and to our network of supermarkets in order to
      promote environmentally responsible behaviour to consumers. Our
      initiatives included using "Did you know...?" shelf cards in stores to
      showcase products that are more environmentally friendly.

    - In April 2009, Metro continued its environmental efforts by holding its
      first "Leave It Greener" week across all its offices and buildings.
      Presentations were made by experts to educate employees about waste
      reduction in the workplace and climate change, a contest was held to
      promote environmentally friendly habits at work, and "green"
      information is now posted on the company's intranet and in its internal

    - Since September 2007, Metro has been involved in the Environmental
      Sustainability Initiative (ESI). Spearheaded by the food distribution
      industry, the initiative's specific objective is to account for the
      greenhouse emissions (in carbon dioxide equivalent) of retail sales
      activities. This is an important step toward collectively reducing the
      industry's carbon footprint.

    - In 2008, Metro's cardboard recycling program collected close to 60,000
      metric tonnes. In the same year, close to 1,000 tons of plastic wrap
      and 6,500 tons of organic materials were recovered.

    - In addition to major programs such as the reusable shopping bags or the
      3Rs, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Metro has launched a number of smaller
      initiatives which reinforce the company's green philosophy.

    - Weekly flyers are printed with vegetable inks and are on paper made
      from wood residue and recycled fibres

    - Program to reduce lighting 24/7 in Ontario during the summer season.
      This initiative led to a total energy saving of more than
      10 million kWh for all sites involved

    - Donations of over $12 million to Eco Entreprise Québec and Stewardship
      Ontario since 2004 to finance municipal recycling programs. All brand
      owners and first importers who sell consumer products in Quebec and
      Ontario must finance 50% of the programs

    - Partnership with the Trees Ontario program in 2008. A cutout of a tree
      on recycled paper was sold for $2, which raised $132,987 for the
      organization. Also, at Food Basics stores, 25cents was given to Trees
      Ontario for each reusable bag sold. This initiative raised $74,910

For further information:

For further information: Selena Fiacco, Director, Communications, Metro
Ontario Inc., (416) 234-6081,; Josie Haynes, Senior
Account Executive, Optimum Public Relations, (416) 934-8012,

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