Wal-Mart Canada stores across the country began reducing lighting by one-third for the summer in 240 of its stores, a strategy aimed at helping the company meet its plan to lower carbon emissions by at least 19,000 tons this year. As a result, Wal-Mart Canada expects to slash carbon emissions by over 4,500 tons, help control summer smog conditions, and aid the stability of provincial power grids.Other energy conservation programs adopted by the company include the ongoing retrofit of stores with more efficient lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems, and an alternative energy plan that is expected to make the retailer Canada's single largest commercial buyer of alternative energy.
The reduced summer-lighting program was piloted in Wal-Mart stores across Ontario in the summers during 2005 and 2006, originally implemented in response to continuing summer energy concerns in the province. The Canada-wide expansion of the program is a result of the company's sustainability goals and its recently introduced "For the Greener Good" program.
Participating locations have posted door-front notices explaining the change and its environmental benefit to shoppers.
"Our customers have told us to be creative and to act boldly when it comes to sustainability," said Wal-Mart Canada Corp. President and CEO Mario Pilozzi in a statement. "We have been amazed at the positive response and the positive results already."
Wal-Mart Canada now has 13 internal networks looking into opportunities to effect sustainable change in such areas as product availability, shipping, packaging, materials, store construction and design, and greenhouse gas reduction.
"We have found that there is a great marriage between environmental sustainability and business sustainability," said Pilozzi. "There are many ways we can benefit our environment while benefiting our business. The effect of our lighting reductions is a great example: less lighting means we save more than a million dollars in energy costs while also taking the equivalent of 500 cars off the road for the year."
Wal-Mart's three long-term sustainability goals worldwide and in Canada are to produce zero waste, to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy, and to make more environmentally preferable products available to shopper.
Wal-Mart Canada operates 277 discount stores, seven Wal-Mart Supercentres, and six Sam's Club membership warehouse operations.