Fifth on this year’s Best 50 Corporate Citizens list, Loblaw Companies Limited (LCL) continues to change the face of Canadian retail.
Loblaw Companies Limited (LCL) opened its first Ontario Environmental Flagship store in July. The Scarborough, Ontario location is the largest food retail store to seek LEED certification. Features include dual-flush toilets, motion-activated LED lighting in display cases, drought-resistant landscaping, and dark-sky friendly parking lot lighting – which saves electricity by directing light downward instead of into the sky.
Mark Schembri, Vice-President of Maintenance and Procurement, adds that LCL isn’t stopping with this store.
“These are standards that we are going to be incorporating across the country.”
Schembri explains that the Scarborough store will exceed LCL’s “very aggressive” 70 per cent national waste diversion target, through an extensive recycling program as well as diversion of organic waste, “brown grease” (trap and sewage grease), and cooking grease to create biogas and biodiesel.
“We believe we currently sit around 45 per cent waste diversion,” he says. “We have a lot of work to do but we’re launching many programs this summer and we believe we’re going to make that target. …We’re excited about it.”
He also explains how LCL has increased both operational and environmental efficiencies through conservation efforts.
“We’ve been actively going into our stores and doing energy retrofits,” he says. “Through a 1.5 per cent reduction to our energy costs we’re actually going to recognize a 3 per cent reduction to our carbon footprint associated with energy use.
“Between 2004 and 2007 our organization invested $7 million in energy retrofits. We believe we saved over $10 million with regards to those actions.”
Inge van den Berg, Vice-President of Public and Investor Relations, says that these benefits are the result of LCL’s continued, top-down commitment to sustainability.
“Sustainability has been a focus of Loblaw for quite a few years,” she says. “LCL has been looking to ensure that its contribution to sustainability is an ongoing approach.”
“A lot of this is doing the right thing for the business, having a positive effect on our costs,” he says. “The next level is we’re also creating Canadian employment. Hopefully [through our sustainability initiatives], we will create some Canadian intellect and some unique approaches.”
As LCL pursues these goals, this flagship store is certainly a step in the right direction.