Sustainability strategy entails growing the business without increasing net carbon footprint.
Three years after launching a business sustainability strategy, Canadian Tire Corp., Ltd., reports it has successfully reduced its energy consumption and its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
Growing the business without increasing the net carbon footprint of the economy is a key aspect of Canadian Tire’s business sustainability plan, which is focused around three areas: products and packaging, transportation of products, and buildings and operations.
In 2011, the firm completed 438 initiatives that will save the firm $5.6 million in costs, reduce waste by 2,451 tonnes and cut GHG emissions by 6,900 tonnes. The 73 initiatives Canadian Tire completed just in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2011 alone reduces costs by $1.2 million, will result in 182 fewer tonnes of waste and 1,667 fewer tonnes of emissions, the company said.
During Q4 2011, Canadian Tire Distribution Centres and Canadian Tire Petroleum were the biggest achievers.
The distribution centres generate more than 95 shipping labels per year. By reducing the size of these labels and replacing the paper forms used to compile merchandise for store orders with a voice-picking system, the company predicts it will save $753,000, and reduce waste and emissions by 73 tonnes and 723 tonnes, respectively.
Gas locations installed energy-efficient LED lighting in gas bar canopies, interiors, coolers and parking lots. As a result, the company says it will save $18,000 and reduce emissions by 15 tonnes. Earlier in the year a similar project was completed at its Mark’s Work Wearhouse stores.
Other business sustainability objectives achieved by the Canadian Tire in 2011 include linking employee compensation with successful implementation of sustainability strategies and rolling out the Go Eco automotive program in Quebec stores.
It was also the first year the company started generating revenue from sustainability initiatives related to on-grid solar energy generation.
Additionally, Canadian Tire designed and successfully built a new store model that is 75 per cent more efficient than its predecessor. The new high-efficiency store will be the basis of all new store builds through to 2015, the company said.
“Canadian Tire is one of the first companies to integrate business sustainability objectives into its overall operating plans and quarterly reporting, which is in large part why we’re experiencing such significant progress,” Tyler Elm, Canadian Tire’s vice-president, business sustainability, said. “Energy productivity and reduced emissions are a big part of that. As proof, we use about 18 per cent less energy per square foot today to heat, light and cool out offices, distribution centres and stores compared to 2007. Similarly we use 26 per cent less energy today for every tonne-kilometres of product shipped compared to a few years ago. We remain committed to growing the business without growing the carbon footprint.”
The 26 per cent reduction in energy usage related to transportation was achieved despite a 22.5 per cent increase in tonne-kilometres of products shipped. As a result of reducing transport-related energy consumption, GHG emissions related to transporting products has dropped by nine per cent.
The 18 per cent decrease in energy-use-per-square-metre in real estate has translated into a 9.4 per cent reduction in GHG emissions, even though functional square footage increased by 9.3 per cent, the company said.
Overall, product transportation accounts for 11 per cent of the firm’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, buildings and operations for seven per cent, while manufacturing retail products accounts for 82 per cent of emissions.
GHG emissions associated with manufacturing increased by 4.3 per cent since 2007. This is a result from an increase in offshore sourcing and increased units shipped compared to 2007, according the company’s Corporate and Supply Chain and Environmental Footprint report.