Walmart unveils sustainable commitments in global meeting
In its Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting on Monday, Walmart announced new commitments the retailer says will dramatically increase energy efficiency and renewables, and hasten its path toward being 100% supplied by renewable energy.
Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke outlined specific goals the company said it intends to achieve by Dec. 31, 2020:
- Drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy globally every year, a 600% increase over 2010 levels; and
- Reduce the kWh/sq. ft. energy intensity required to power Walmart’s buildings globally by 20% compared to 2010 levels.
"More than ever, we know that our goal to be supplied 100% by renewable energy is the right goal and that marrying up renewables with energy efficiency is especially powerful," said Duke. "The math adds up pretty quickly – when we use less energy that’s less energy we have to buy, and that means less waste and more savings. These new commitments will make us a stronger business, and they’re great for our communities and the environment."
Walmart’s six-fold increase in renewable energy projects is expected to be equal to eliminating the need for roughly two U.S. fossil fuel power plants. Based on external estimates of projected energy costs and other factors, the two new commitments are anticipated to generate more than $1 billion annually in energy savings once fully implemented.
The company said it will also avoid 9 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road, in effect halting the growth of GHG emissions from the company’s largest GHG source — energy used to power buildings — by 2020.
For the first time, the company is projecting this GHG decrease even with significant anticipated growth in stores and sales.
"When I look at the future, energy costs may grow as much as twice as fast as our anticipated store and club growth," Duke said. "Finding cleaner and more affordable energy is important to our every day low cost business model and that makes it important to our customers’ pocketbooks. Our leadership in this area is something our customers can feel good about because the result is a cleaner environment. And savings we can pass on to them."
In 2012, Walmart added nearly 100 renewable energy projects, bringing the total number of projects in operation worldwide to nearly 300 today. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, it has more solar power capacity and number of systems than any other company in America.
In the U.S. alone, Walmart said it hopes to install solar power on at least 1,000 rooftops and facilities by 2020, a significant increase from just over 200 solar projects in operation or under development currently. In addition to onsite solar, the company will continue to develop projects in wind, fuel cells and other technologies. It will also procure offsite renewable energy from utility-scale projects, such as large wind projects, micro-hydro projects and geothermal.
In order to meet its energy efficiency goal between now and 2020, Walmart projects to increase LED usage in sales floor lighting, parking lots and other applications. Walmart will also focus on market-relevant scalable technologies, including high efficiency HVAC and refrigeration systems and sophisticated energy/building control systems.
IKEA’s U.S. solar presence brightens
IKEA has plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its distribution center in Perryville, Md.
The 768,972-sq.-ft. PV array consists of a 2,674.9-kW system, built with 18,576 panels, and is the state’s largest rooftop array. The IKEA distribution center will produce approximately 3,397,178 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 2,397 tons of carbon dioxide, eliminating the emissions of 499 cars or powering 359 homes yearly.
This installation represents the furniture retailer’s 36th completed solar project in the United States, with three more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of Ikea nearly 90% of its U.S. locations with a total generation of 38 MW. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings — as opposed to a solar lease or power purchase agreement — and globally has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015. This investment reinforces the long-term commitment of Ikea to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic technology. Consistent with the company’s goal of being energy independent by 2020, Ikea has installed more than 250,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns/operates approximately 110 wind turbines in Europe.
For the development, design and installation of the Perryville distribution center’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with Inovateus Solar, an industry-leading solar power distributor and integrator specializing in large-scale solar installations.
“As one of the largest rooftop arrays in the country, this installation will ensure that the Ikea Perryville distribution center consumes very little power from the electric grid,” said Ed Morris, Perryville distribution center manager. “IKEA is thrilled at this opportunity to further our investment in this community while also continuing our commitment of incorporating sustainability into our supply chain operations. We appreciate the continued support of the City of Perryville, Cecil County, Delmarva Power and Inovateus Solar, our partners in this project.”
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, Ikea evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works to maintain sustainable resources and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include recycling waste material; incorporating environmental measures into the actual buildings with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas and water-conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing-out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S., and by 2016 will go L.E.D. by selling and using lightbulbs that are only L.E.D.
Constructed on 278 acres in the community of Perryville, in Northern Md.’s Cecil County, this 1.7 million-sq.-ft. Ikea distribution center began operations in 2002, employs approximately 550 coworkers and currently helps provide inventory to many U.S. Ikea stores.
Founded in 1943 in Sweden, Ikea currently operates more than 330 stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the United States, as well as six distribution centers in North America. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives benefiting children and the environment.
White Cliff Pet Products launches Breathe Free
Manchester, N.H.-based White Cliff Pet Products has announced the launch of Breathe Free Litterbox Mate, a cat litter pad designed to eliminate litter box odor, according to the company.
The litter pad blocks cat urine and fecal odor as well as bacteria growth, according to the company. Breathe Free Litterbox Mate litter pads are filled with a mineral that absorbs moisture and gases, such as ammonia, in turn neutralizing and eliminating smells from any-sized litter boxes.
Created in 2012, White Cliff Pet Products dedicates a portion of each Breathe Free Litterbox Mate sale to kittens and adult cats housed in animal shelters and adoption agencies nationwide.