STORE SPACES

Kroger Southwest looks to reduce energy use by 50%

BY CSA STAFF

Houston — Kroger Southwest on Thursday said it plans to lower energy usage by 50% — an average decrease of 2% to 4% annually — during the next five years. Since 2000, the company has reduced energy consumption in its stores by 30%.

In its ongoing effort to reduce usage, Kroger Southwest appointed a task force of energy-conservation technicians whose sole focus is to identify ways stores can operate more efficiently.

"We’re always looking for ways to reduce waste, conserve energy and better our transportation systems," said Bill Breetz, president of the Kroger Southwest Division, which consists of 208 stores in Texas and Louisiana. "By continually educating our associates, introducing new approaches and investing in programs, we’ve been able to significantly reduce our carbon footprint as a company and contribute to global sustainability efforts."

The Kroger "SAVE 5" program, which was developed by the retailer’s facility engineering team, equips associates with five easy habits that can be practiced to reduce waste and energy at store level. The program educates associates about the importance of closing doors; turning lights off; shutting down equipment after use; maintaining specified temperatures in refrigeration cases; and not overstocking products.

Kroger Southwest is investing in a new eco-friendly initiative called "Lighting Reinvention." Lighting is ranked No. 2 behind refrigeration as the leading energy consumer in Kroger stores. The program will significantly cut down the amount of kilowatts used in stores over a five-year period.

In addition to operations, Kroger is committed to following sustainable practices related to food.

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News

Planet-saving progress detailed in sustainability report

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart is out with its 2011 Global Responsibility Report, and it is a beast of a document at 106 pages. A lot of those pages contain pretty pictures, such as the cover which shows a young girl in a grassy field pointing skyward to Walmart’s Spark logo, but there is plenty of substance too. The document is also broader in scope than prior iterations, which had a tighter focus on sustainability.

In an introductory message from Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke, he said the name change “reflects the new social and environmental dimensions we have added to our efforts, as well as new data and metrics to track and measure our progress.”

In addition, Duke noted that, “We do not view our sustainability work as a philanthropic add-on to what we do, but as a core part of who we are. We are pleased that the global conversation around sustainability is moving toward this point of view, and when we hear people talk about ‘responsible consumption’ and about creating ‘shared value’ for both business and society, we feel like we have been pioneers at Walmart. It is our goal to continue to lead in both the difference we make and how we make that difference.”

As for differences made, Walmart disclosed that it has improved the efficiency of its private fleet by 65% and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 10.61% compared with 2005. The company also reduced plastic bag waste by nearly 48 million pounds or the equivalent of 3.5 billion bags globally.

In keeping with the spirit of increased transparency in this year’s report, Walmart included a section called “goals not met,” where it disclosed way it fell short on some objectives. For example, the company said it didn’t meet goal relating to the traceability of silver and diamonds, the elimination of PVC from private brand packaging and selling only Energy Star compliant air conditioners.

However, the bulk of the report is devoted to previously articulated major goals and what really are some pretty amazing accomplishments against three priorities of being supplied 100% by renewable energy, creating zero waste and selling products that sustain people and the environment.

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FINANCE

J.C. Penney CEO: High price of cotton is one of biggest challenges

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The high price of cotton is one of the biggest challenges that J.C. Penney Co. faces this year, chairman and CEO Mike Ullman said during a panel discussion at Southern Methodist University, the Dallas Business Journal reported.

Cotton prices in March hit their highest levels in decades after floods in Australia and Pakistan and freezes in China wiped out farmers’ crops. That means consumers will see rising clothing prices for the first time in more than 20 years, Ullman said, who predicted increases of 5% to 20%.

Ullman said that higher apparel prices will make it difficult to keep customers spending in an environment where they are dealing with higher fuel and food costs.

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