Meet Some of Thrive Market’s Sustainability Superstars 

Last Update: March 31, 2023

On our journey to becoming the world’s first climate-positive grocery store, there have been many milestones: becoming a B Corp, receiving TRUE Certification for Zero Waste at our fulfillment centers, and being Plastic Neutral Certified. Behind each of those labels is a lot of work—and none of it would happen without people. 

From the farms to the warehouses to the shipping box at your doorstep (and every step in between), the Thrive Market team is always prioritizing the environment. As Earth Month 2023 begins, take a moment to get to know some of the employees behind our ambitious sustainability goals—after all, it’s their dedication to our mission and passion for the planet that make it all possible. 

Kristin De Simone, Senior Manager of Mission

What she does: De Simone heads up all of Thrive Market’s social and environmental impact work.

How she makes Thrive Market sustainable: With her five-year sustainability roadmap, which includes initiatives around carbon, waste, and plastic, De Simone has led the charge for Thrive Market’s Climate Neutral, Plastic Neutral, and TRUE Zero Waste certifications, as well as helping the company become a B Corp. “Our vision is to become the world’s first climate positive grocery store,” she states.

Her biggest challenges: De Simone cites plastic reduction as a hard nut to crack, especially for a consumer packaged goods business—but she’s committed to the cause. “In order to make real industry progress, there needs to be real commitment to taking action,” she says. To temper the impact of the company’s plastic use, De Simone established a partnership with rePurpose Global that allows Thrive Market to offset plastic waste through projects that remove an equivalent amount of plastic from nature.

Her proudest moment: Achieving the TRUE Certification for Zero Waste across all three Thrive Market warehouses (in Batesville, Indiana; Hanover, Pennsylvania; and Reno, Nevada) was a major highlight for De Simone—and the result of an incredible team effort. Employees pulled together to redesign, reduce, reuse, and recycle in order to divert at least 90% of solid waste materials from landfills. “This would not have been possible without the incredible partnership and dedication from our fulfillment center leaders and Thrivers,” she reflects. 

Her sustainability goal: For De Simone, sustainability is a journey, not a destination. “Our climate action is ongoing. The ultimate goal is to not just neutralize our impact on the environment, but to have a truly net positive impact on the planet.” Next on her agenda: continuing to reduce carbon emissions, waste, and plastic use.

Evan Metyk, Batesville Fulfillment Center Site Director

What he does: Metyk oversees Thrive Market’s fulfillment center in Batesville, Indiana (from which 45% of Thrive Market orders are shipped), and ensures operations there uphold the company’s sustainability values.

How he makes Thrive Market sustainable: “We focus on reusing, reducing, and recycling everything (and I mean everything: cardboard, shrink wrap, wood pallets, tin cans, hard plastic, scrap metal, hard plastics, plastic bottles and caps) we can get our hands on inside our four walls,” Metyk says. Every bit of material is meticulously tracked as part of adhering to our TRUE Zero Waste guidelines. 

His biggest challenges: “Reducing our usage impact will alway be a continuous challenge,” Metyk says, adding that his team is focused on cutting back on required packing supplies, internal packaging, and packaging sizing. “[It’s] a continuous drive for perfection.”

His proudest moment: One of Metyk’s biggest wins was overseeing a project that aimed to cut back on the plastic shipping bags that are used to protect fragile products in transit. The reduction effort started with drop-testing and analyzing over 1,500 products to determine which ones truly needed the additional protection. Ultimately, Metyk and his team were able to cut out 70% of bags (to 3.8 million, down from 12.7 million), keeping 30,000 pounds of plastic out of landfills. In 2022, Metyk shares, the Batesville warehouse also recycled 1.7 million pounds of cardboard, 1.1 million pounds of pallets, and 38,000 pounds of shrink wrap.

His sustainability goal: Metyk reports the Batesville fulfillment center currently has a 94% waste diversion rate; his goal is to get that number closer to 100%. How? “Through innovative thinking, bold action, employee engagement, ownership building, vision sharing and milestone celebrating.” 

Erin McCarthy, Senior Product Innovator for Home Cleaning and Supplies

What she does: McCarthy develops natural and sustainable home cleaning products for Thrive Market’s exclusive line, Rosey by Thrive Market.

How she makes Thrive Market sustainable: McCarthy’s priorities when developing products include ensuring all ingredients are sustainably and ethically sourced (such as palm oil-derived ingredients, which must be RSPO certified), seeking sustainable materials for durable goods (think: organic cotton for textiles), and minimizing plastic use. “We also do a lot of research on our production techniques to make sure they aren’t harming the environment and require ethical and sustainable sourcing audits when manufacturing in certain countries,” she adds. 

Her biggest challenges: “Cost, volumes and compatibility,” McCarthy says. “While I would love to remove plastic from our products altogether, it is a lot more complicated than that.” McCarthy explains that plastic-free products and packaging are expensive and often require placing very large orders, which can be at odds with Thrive Market’s goal to remain affordable and accessible. “It’s a fine balance,” she says.

Her proudest moment: “The launch of the Rosey [by Thrive Market] Concentrates was huge, as it offers our members a sustainable, affordable, efficacious, and plant-based way to clean their homes.” McCarthy adds that she’s excited about the upcoming relaunch of Thrive Market’s paper products in 100% plastic-free, paper packaging. “Not only that, but the products are all made completely in the United States, which cuts down on energy used to transport from overseas.”

Her sustainability goal: Composting is a sustainable habit that’s on McCarthy’s personal to-do list. “The process has always intimidated me, but I am determined to master it this year,” she says. (If you’re also intimidated by composting—relatablecheck out our guide.)

Jason Bidart, Vice President of Merchandising, Food

What he does: In his words, Bidart “runs a team of passionate foodies that are tasked with bringing healthy, ethical and sustainably sourced food to our members.”

How he makes Thrive Market sustainable: Bidart’s merchandising team is responsible for sourcing all food products sold onsite—both from third-party brand partners and the suppliers that create products for our exclusive Thrive Market branded goods. “We work hard to ensure we are offering the highest quality products coming from sustainable sources and in the most sustainable packaging,” he says.

His biggest challenges: Echoing McCarthy, Bidart says cost can be a challenge, whether from using sustainable packaging or partnering with regenerative farms—a priority for the team. That said, Bidart and his team have taken care to develop strong relationships with suppliers, and they’re constantly finding new, more sustainable solutions (like the 92 new regenerative products launched at Thrive Market in 2022). 

His proudest moment: Last year, Bidart and his team launched the first products under Thrive Market’s exclusive brand to carry the Regenerative Organic Certified label: amaranth and several types of quinoa. “We achieved this by finding an amazing partner that is committed to regenerative farming and continuing to raise their standards with their network for farmers.” (Learn all about the partnership here.)

His sustainability goal: Cutting back on plastic may not be easy, but Bidart is up for the challenge; his goal this year is to work even harder to eliminate it from Thrive Market’s branded products.

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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