EPA awards top honors to Lowe’s
Lowe’s came away with some of the highest honors in environmental stewardship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The retailer was recognized for its freight transportation practices and water-efficient products campaign with a 2013 SmartWay Excellence Award and a 2013 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award.
"The awards we received this year are a culmination of sustained and dedicated progress, and reflect our company’s commitment to continually improve our performance while we provide our customers the products they need to do the same," said Michael Chenard, Lowe’s director of corporate sustainability. "We’re proud to be our customers’ first choice for efficient products while we help control their costs through a more efficient supply chain."
The retailer has made efforts to reduce transportation-related emissions and improve fuel efficiency, most recently by dedicating a fleet of natural gas-powered trucks at one of its Texas distribution centers.
Additionally, Lowe’s has been promoting its WaterSense products since joining the program in 2008 as part of a concerted effort to help customers lower utility bills and conserve water. According to the company, the EPA estimates that Lowe’s WaterSense sales in 2012 were equivalent to $35 million in savings for customers, as well as four billion gallons of conserved water.
Lowe’s also received a 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award in March. With the addition of the SmartWay and WaterSense awards, Lowe’s is now the only retail partner to receive all three EPA distinctions.
New York investors purchase large Florida agribusiness
A group of private investors in New York has gone in on a majority interest in Fort Myers-based agribusiness Alico Inc., one of the largest private landowners in Florida.
The all-cash $138 million deal involves 50.5% of Alico’s outstanding voting stock, purchased by 734 Agriculture, a private investment company owned by Remy Trafelet and George Brokaw, in partnership with Arlon Group, a global food and agriculture investment firm.
The majority stake will be valued at $37 per share and is due to close in the next 30 to 45 days.
Family-owned holding company Atlantic Blue Group previously owned the voting stock, but was sold due to tax reasons. Atlantic Blue Group is part of late citrus baron Ben Hill Griffin Jr.’s estate. His heirs include former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.
Florida citrus grower Clay Wilson will be the new CEO, though the company doesn’t foresee any substantial changes in focus or operations.
Alico owns 130,000 acres in central and south Florida, 11,000 acres of which are under production for citrus. Alico also specializes in sugar cane and cattle ranching.