Another Fool Flirts With Profitable Sustainability

Roger is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) just keeps rewarding. With a recent stock price of $91.90, this company, headquartered in Austin, Texas, continues to be one of my best investments, returning 420% on a March, 2009 purchase at $17.59 per share. And it's not done yet! 

More importantly, Whole Foods Market continues to inspire.... and make converts of a growing number of people like you and me for whom consuming and investing is important, but for whom a growing fertilizer-, herbicide- and pesticide-induced deadzone in the Gulf of Mexico, and other places, is unacceptable and want to do something about it.

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Motley Fool writer John Grgurich recently penned two articles as one who is inspired by the mission and performance of Whole Foods. That, and his subsequent purchase of some of this company's shares, make him, on the "trail-drive" to sustainability, Trail Boss of the Triple-P for a day. And it puts him, if only temporarily, in the esteemed company of the likes of John Mackey of Whole Foods Market, Ray Anderson of Interface FLOR (NASDAQ: TILE), Steve Els of Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) and Howard Schultz of Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), all four Resident Trail Bosses of the Triple-P whose companies make a Profit while caring for People and Planet.

Here is what this fellow Fool, John Grgurich, said. "....Whole Foods, I discovered far later than most, is one of the most perfect financial marriages between long-term performance and social responsibility I'd ever find: a company for which social responsibility goes to the very core of the enterprise, and a company that's performing at the very peak of its corporate powers."

"What in the world took me so long?" John asked himself as he made his first purchase recently of some Whole Foods shares.

More and more "everyday" men and women are doing the same - as investors and consumers they are putting their dollars where their values are in their quest to grow economic capital (Profit) at the same time as growing social capital (People) and natural capital (Planet), and so promote a sustainable world.

With a Triple-P-Rating of TP-333(9) [3 out of 3 for growing Natural Capital (Planet), 3 out of 3 for growing Social Capital (People) and 3 out of 3 for growing Economic Capital (Profit) giving a green, single-digit sustainability score of (9) out of a possible (9)] Whole Foods Market is, as John says, as close to "perfect" as a company committed to being profitably sustainable can be.

Planet and People

Here's one reason the rating is so high. In a recent press release Whole Foods' announced their latest innovation in sustainability - to partner with Nature's Path in the introduction of two mueslis that help triple-P minded consumers spend their money in ways that care for Planet and People. The mueslis are organic and non-GMO and so help care for the Planet. In addition, Nature's Path donates 2% of the retail price to the Whole Planet Foundation which empowers women through microcredit assistance in places Whole Foods sources its products, so helping to care for People.

Rigorously applying the The Natural Step's sustainability screen to evaluate Whole Foods Market's commitment to sustainability demonstrates a company that truly warrants the maximum score of 3 for comitment to growing Natural Capital [TP-3XX(X)] and 3 for Social Capital [TP-X3X(X)].


Motley Fool CAPS gives Whole Foods Market a four star rating which converts easily into a score of 3 for Economic Capital [TP-XX3(X)] [a one and two star CAPS rating = TP-XX1(X); a three star CAPS rating = TP-XX2(X); and a four and five star CAPS raiting = TP-XX3(X)], resulting in the Triple-P rating of TP-333(9) and the single-digit, sustainability score of a coveted, green (9).

Taking it to the Street

Whole Foods Market is in good company on the Triple-P Trail. It, together with Chipotle Mexican Grill, TP-332(8), is helping to change the way food is produced, prepared and consumed, offering up "food with integrity," to quote Chipotle's slogan, that really strives to care for the Planet. InterfaceFLOR, TP-332(8), markets a carpet rapidly becoming 100% sustainable in it's production. And Starbucks, TP-332(8), continues its commitment to buying more and more organic, Fair Trade coffee and to help farmers produce it.

Screened by The Natural Step's (TNS) sustainability screen, each one of these companies has made it into the pure play Triple-P-Portfolio, a sort of Whole Fools Market of companies rigorously committed to sustainability - meaning they have to be Profitable while rigorously caring for Planet and People, or systematically en route to doing so.


On the long trail ride out of the badlands of Planet-and-People-indifference en route to the Triple-P of making a Profit while caring for Planet and People, only few corporate leaders qualify as Resident Trail Bosses. So far only John Mackey, Ray Anderson, Steve Els and Howard Schultz make that list.

But occassionally the rest of us may qualify as a Trail Boss for a day. Fool John Grgurich is one of those. Long may we all "Fool on." And may more and more of us, like John, flirt with profitably investing in Triple-P companies like Whole Foods Market, Chipotle Mexican Grill, InterfaceFLOR and Starbucks.

And, as consumers on this trail to the Triple-P, let's be sure to requistion supplies from Triple-P-Outposts - carpet from FLOR, vittles from Whole Foods - and en route, while resting the horses, enjoy each others company over a Fair Trade cup of coffee or organic burritto.

The commonwealth of clear skies, pure water and healthy soils, in addition to our bottom lines, can only benefit!

No dead zones allowed.

TripleEFocus1 owns shares in Whole Foods Market, Interface, and Starbucks. He and his bird dog, Gil, a Brittany Spaniel, are pointing towards Chipotle Mexican Grill. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Interface, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market and has the following options: short JAN 2013 $47.00 puts on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Chipotle Mexican Grill, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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