Retailers Walking the Talk
By Bernice Hurst, Managing Partner, Fine Food Network
Consumers may be getting increasingly cost-conscious but retailers on both sides of the Atlantic are standing by their commitments to energy conservation. In the U.K., department store chain Debenhams has signed a deal with energy-providers, Scottish Power, to provide electricity for its 172 stores by wind power.
The Independent newspaper reported, “Debenhams will be supplied with 35 MW of green energy per month, enough to light and heat 50,000 homes.”
Debenhams’ spokesman, Nigel Palmer, explained, “This agreement to power our stores with 100 percent green electricity is part of a long term strategy which reveals the commitment that Debenhams has in helping the environment. We are going about this in a systematic manner and looking at all aspects of our operations from the way we deal with customers in stores to our distribution network. We will be seeking to continually improve our green performance by setting new targets for our 20,000 staff to meet.”
Scottish Power describes itself as “the leader in developing wind power and at the forefront of other renewable sources such as wave and tidal.”
Across the U.S., J.C. Penney, H.E. Butt Grocery, Safeway and Best Buy are among those implementing plans to use, and conserve, energy. H.E. Butt and Penney are working towards awards for environmentally-friendly design. Safeway has opened its “first solar-powered store in California” and Best Buy announced plans “to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by nine percent per square foot across all its U.S. operations by 2012,” according to
The Dallas Morning News.
Penney’s chairman and chief executive Myron “Mike” Ullman said new ideas, including “solar and wind power projects in California, New Jersey and Colorado, eventually will cost less to implement and will lower operating costs.”
If these stores are anything to go by, it’s beginning to look as if more retailers are walking the walk and not just spouting greenwash.
Discussion question: What’s the likelihood that energy-saving investments by retailers will continue despite the tougher economic climate? Do you see these moves toward environmentally-friendly designs at retail more as cost-cutting measures, consumer goodwill initiatives, or just corporate citizenship efforts?
- J.C. Penney, other retailers maintain environmental plans – Dallas Morning News
- Debenhams in ‘landmark’ renewable energy deal – The Independent
- Supermarkets come in from cold as part of low carbon revolution – The Guardian