The push towards sustainability is in full force in Corporate America. Some of todays largest and most influential retail companies have begun tackling their impact on the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, investing in renewable energy and launching various green initiatives. According to a survey by the Retail Industry Leaders Association, 66 percent of retailers have already begun the transition to green.
Timothy Treadwell, Environmental Director at Juice Energy, Inc. an electricity supplier with a focus on renewable sources believes retailers who take the initiative on climate issues should be rewarded for their efforts: As the holiday season approaches we believe consumers can help drive this trend by supporting companies that are taking actions to reduce their environmental impact. Consumer support is the most effective way of showing that sustainability is good for business.
Juice Energy, Inc. and its staff of environmental and energy experts have identified these ten companies as frontrunners in the shift to green business:
In 1998, Patagonia became the first California-based company to buy electricity from 100 per cent renewable energy sources and achieved LEED gold certification for its Nevada distribution center. Additionally, Patagonia is a leader in recycling, with its Common Threads Garment Recycling Program, which recycles used fleece for use in new products.
Kohls is the second largest retail purchaser of green power and the largest among department stores, using 201,396,000 kWh annually. Kohls is also working to complete the largest rooftop solar project in U.S. history next year, with installations at 63 of their 80 California locations.
Whole Foods, a leading natural and organic supermarket, purchases green power equal to 100 per cent of their electricity usage, over 509,100,000 kWh annually. Their green power usage earned them the distinction of EPA Green Power Partnership Power Partner of the Year 2006 and ranks third among all green power purchasers. Whole Foods also gained LEED Silver certification for its Sarasota, FL store, the first supermarket to earn the designation.
In 2005, the outdoor and lifestyle apparel wholesaler prAna launched their Natural Power Initiative to purchase green power equal to the electricity usage of all 250 prAna retailers, the companys corporate headquarters, and the homes of all their full-time employees, equaling 29,678,000 kWh annually. Now prAna plans to purchase wind power for their entire North American dealer base of approximately 1,000 retail partners in addition to its contracted U.S. – based sewing facilities.
REI, or Recreational Equipment Inc., purchases green power equal to 100 per cent of their annual electricity consumption, totaling 63,080,000 kWh, which ranks 9th among retail purchasers. REI has also committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 1/3 from the 2006 baseline by the end of 2009.
UPS operates the largest alternative fuel and low-emission fleet in the industry, with 19,647 such vehicles worldwide. UPS is also reducing its emissions by purchasing 2,949,545 kWh of green power for its California facilities and streamlining delivery routes resulting in the elimination of more than 28.5 million miles of driving to date.
Timberland recently introduced Green Index tags on a number of its products, which rate products based on environmental factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, the use of solvents, and organic content. Timberland also plans to become “carbon neutral” by 2010 and recently changed all packaging use for its footwear to 100 per cent post-consumer recycled boxes and soy inks.
Nike has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2011 and currently purchases 79,820,000 kWh of green power for its World Headquarters, representing 72 per cent of annual consumption. The company is also designing its footwear to meet targets for waste reduction, elimination of volatile organic compounds and increased use of environmentally preferred materials by 2011.
Wal-Mart has made a commitment to reduce overall GHG emissions by 20 per cent over the next 8 years and set a long-term corporate goal to purchase 100 per cent of their energy from renewable sources. Wal-Mart has also set a goal to increase fuel efficiency of its fleet by 25 per cent over the next 3 years and is currently the largest single purchaser of 100 per cent organic cotton products.
The discount retailer, Target, became a certified organic produce retailer late last year and now offers more than 500 choices of organic certified food. Target also reduces waste through food-donation programs, giving away nearly 7 million pounds of food last year. They also have four buildings in California using on-site solar electricity, with systems under development at 14 additional stores.
About Juice Energy, Inc.:
Juice is a revolutionary energy company working solely on behalf of their clients. Operating in deregulated markets, Juice tailors rate structures and products to improve clients financial performance and carbon footprint. Juice brings energy portfolio management, transparency and new accountability measures, for the highest return at the lowest cost. www.aboutjuice.com