Once again, Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, by Mediacorp Canada. The award commends Loblaw for creating a corporate culture committed to the development of industry-leading environmentally conscious and sustainability focused initiatives. Respect the Environment is one of five principles that drive Loblaw’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments.
“Loblaw and its colleagues, employees and franchise owners are committed to being one of Canada’s Greenest Employers,” said Bob Chant, senior vice-president, corporate affairs and communication, Loblaw Companies Limited. “As Canada’s largest grocery retailer Loblaw takes seriously its responsibility to continue to reduce the environmental impact of our operations through the sourcing of sustainable products, environmentally friendly purchasing decisions and by reducing energy consumption.”
Some of Loblaw’s environmental accomplishments in 2011 include:
- Helping protect our oceans: In 2009 Loblaw announced a commitment to source all seafood sold in its retail locations from sustainable sources by the end of 2013. In 2011 Loblaw more than doubled the number of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified wild-caught seafood products sold in its stores. Wisesource TM Salmon became more broadly available across more stores in Ontario and Quebec and introduced in Atlantic Canada. WiseSource™ Salmon is a sustainably sourced farmed Atlantic Salmon raised in Canadian waters using an innovative process called Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), a method committed to healthier waters through a balanced ecosystem management approach.
- Reducing the use of plastic shopping bags: Since 2007, and motivated by its national charge for plastic shopping bag program, Loblaw has reduced the number of plastic shopping bags from its stores by 3.8 billion.
- Fuel Efficiency – Over the past several years, Loblaw has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of its transport fleet. In 2011, the Company reduced overall fuel consumption by 2 per cent and reduced idle time by 20 per cent in comparison to 2010. The Company added 52 newer, more efficient trucks to its fleet; expanded the number of long combination vehicles and shipped more than 22,000 loads of product via rail. To reduce empty kilometres, Loblaw maximized load volumes by increasing cube per load and increased the number of backhaul trips.
- Reduced energy consumption: Loblaw is committed to taking action on climate change and reducing green house gas emissions primarily resulting from energy consumption and refrigerant leaks. In 2011, the Company completed lighting retrofits for 112 corporate stores nationally where more than 36,000 light fixtures were converted to fluorescent technology resulting in energy savings that would power 4,700 homes in Canada for one year. Loblaw also achieved a 14 per cent reduction in energy consumption in renovated corporate stores in Western Canada. In Ontario, all four solar panel projects were in commercial operation and by year-end generated 222,780 kilowatt hours of clean carbon energy. Across the organization, Loblaw reduced the total amount of refrigerant leaked by 9.7 per cent through the installation of cutting-edge refrigeration systems and continued improvement in leak-checking program.
- Increased waste diversion: Loblaw is committed to reducing waste throughout its supply chain. In 2011, the Company expanded organic waste diversion and multi-stream recycling programs in corporate stores, distribution centres and store support centres. Loblaw also piloted Reusable Plastic Containers (RPC) for shipping produce. By year-end Loblaw diverted 78 per cent of waste from corporate distribution centres, 75 per cent from stores support centres and 60 per cent from corporate stores. In 2008, Loblaw introduced Canada’s first and only national recycling program for gardeners. Exclusive to Loblaw stores, gardeners across the country can drop off their used plastic pots and flats which are not accepted by the Blue Box programs. The plastic products are then recycled to create new pots and flats for the next season. Through this unique program, Loblaw diverted 4.1 million pounds of plastic flower pots and flats from landfill from 2008 to 2011.
- Fostering green advocates: In 2011, Loblaw supported several environmental initiatives for colleagues and their communities. Loblaw’s Supply Chain Community Stewardship Program supports local community environmental initiatives and programs by providing an annual financial grant to each corporate distribution centre to encourage support of local community projects, activities or charitable organizations with an environmental focus. Through partial proceeds from the sale of plastic shopping bags, Loblaw continued to support WWF conservation initiatives such as the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup™, National Sweater Day™ and the WWF Green CommUnity School Grants program.
- Increasing our greener options: Loblaw’s PC® G.R.E.E.N® product line crosses a variety of categories including home, baby, and pet accessories to help customers reduce their environmental footprint. Some of the new products launched in 2011 include the PC® G.R.E.E.N® Express Cycle Dishwasher Detergent and the PC® G.R.E.E.N® Multi-Use Produce Shopping Bags.
On April 30, 2012, Loblaw will be releasing its 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which will provide updated information on the full range of Loblaw’s CSR commitments and achievements. Please visit the responsibility page at loblaw.ca for more information.
Launched in 2007, the Canada’s Greenest Employers competition is organized by the editors of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. This special designation recognizes the employers that lead the nation in creating a corporate culture of environmental awareness, have developed exceptional earth-friendly initiatives and attracting people to their organizations because of their environmental leadership.
Employers are evaluated based on the following criteria: (1) the unique environmental initiatives and programs they have developed; (2) the extent to which they have been successful in reducing the organization’s own environmental footprint; (3) the degree to which their employees are involved in these programs and whether they contribute any unique skills; and (4) the extent to which these initiatives have become linked to the employer’s public identity and whether they attract new people to the organization.