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Aldi’s green DC translates into ‘gold’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Aldi’s sustainability efforts are gaining recognition.

The grocer’s sustainable distribution center and regional headquarters in Moreno Valley, Calif., have earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Working alongside Graycor Construction Company, Aldi improved the design and materials used in the development of both buildings.

Specifically, the chain added on-site solar panels that provide 60% of the electricity at the Aldi Moreno Valley regional headquarters and warehouse. Other additions include an energy-efficient ammonia refrigeration system; water-efficient landscaping and plumbing, and electric vehicle charging stations and bicycle racks that promote the use of greener methods of transportation.

"Aldi is taking steps wherever possible to reduce our environmental impact," said Aaron Sumida, VP, Aldi. "Building our warehouse to meet LEED Gold requirements is a significant achievement, one that will enable us to conserve energy, and reduce water consumption, which are critical in California, and ultimately reduce our carbon footprint.”

Aldi noted that its stores have a smaller carbon footprint than traditional grocery stores, due to their smaller size, and also feature environmentally friendly building materials and state-of-the-art lighting and refrigeration systems that reduce energy use.

"As Aldi expands operations to California, we will continue to uphold these values by ensuring our California stores feature sustainable building elements designed to reduce our carbon footprint through energy efficiency, waste reduction and green building design," said Sumida.

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Putting employees first

BY CSA STAFF

The key to success is customer satisfaction.

By arming itself with a fleet of “great personnel,” The Container Store is always ready to deliver top-notch store-level service.

This message was delivered during “Doing Well by Doing Good — How to Build Trust and Win the Modern Customer,” a topic discussed yesterday at “Retail’s Digital Summit 2016.” The event, sponsored by Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, was held in Dallas.

While retailers industry-wide are eager to provide a superior customer experience, it is up to front-line associates to execute this service. While some retailers feel it’s important to bolster their store-level teams with as many associates as possible, especially during the holidays, The Container Store uses a different strategy.

“We take an employee-first approach versus customer-first,” Audrey Robertson, executive VP, culture and strategic assistant to the CEO, The Container Store, said during the session.

“The lens for our hiring philosophy is to find one great person that has the traits of three good candidates,” she explained. “When we can find that one special candidate that can fulfill the business productivity of three,” the chain compensates them accordingly.”

Besides paying these associates between 50% and 100% higher than they would pay three individuals, The Container Store also provides an average of 263 hours of training during their first year. Meanwhile, the lines of communication across the company remain very open, enabling The Container Store to share with associates its core values, such as internal cultural programs, and how it engages with non-profit companies and the communities it operates in. As a result, associates take pride in their company and work, making them brand ambassadors versus uninvested hourly workers.

“We are as transparent as we can be, and as a result, we can attract better talent,” Robertson said.

“By taking care of our employees, they will take better care of our customers,” she added. “By creating an employee-first environment, we are producing more committed employees, more loyal shoppers and a strong company.”

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Understanding and Controlling Energy Costs in Retail

BY CSA STAFF

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