Earth Day Spotlight on New Retail Sustainability Efforts

Earth Day Spotlight on New Retail Sustainability Efforts

Retailers are increasingly embracing sustainability as a core business value. Accelerated by growing consumer demand and corporate social responsibility expectations, retail leaders are integrating sustainability and environmental commitments throughout the enterprise and are making bold investments in initiatives to help combat climate change, reduce waste, drive clean energy adoption, and more. They are setting long-term goals to reduce environmental impact and ensure a safe, sustainable future for all.
As we celebrate Earth Day 2021, many retailers are using the day and call to action as an opportunity to establish new, ambitious sustainability projects.

Explore the latest news from retailers below.

Best Buy: We're More Sustainable Together

Best Buy celebrates Earth Month with their campaign, ‘We’re more sustainable together’, an effort to help customers recycle their tech, trade-in their old devices, and find eco-friendly products. This April, Best Buy is also launching eco home consultations, a program where Best Buy Home Experts help customers to live more sustainably through a home consultation.

Kroger Continues to Advance Zero-Waste Vision

The Kroger Co., America's largest grocer, today announced the expansion of its Simple Truth® Recycling Program – offering customers a free and easy way to recycle flexible plastic packaging – to include all private-label brands, including Private Selection®, Kroger® Brand, Comforts®, Luvsome®, Abound®, and more. The newly expanded Kroger Our Brands Recycling Program is the first program of its kind and advances the retailer's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social and environmental impact plan.

Gap Inc. Celebrates Earth Day 2021

Gap Inc.'s purpose-led, lifestyle brands are making progress to help enrich and protect natural resources and ensure healthy communities for future generations.

Gap Inc.’s purpose, Inclusive, by Design, is expressed through efforts focused on empowering women, enabling opportunity, and enriching communities. In addition, each of Gap Inc.'s brands has expanded more sustainable products and practices. Gap recently launched its most sustainable collection of apparel yet – Generation Good, icons made of organic and recycled fabrics that check all the boxes on Gap's Good List: less waste, less water, lower emissions, better materials, and support for workers. In parallel, Gap Inc. has already made significant progress in moving towards a circular economy by partnering across the industry to activate and scale an ecosystem of solutions. Furthering its pledge to enrich communities, Gap Inc. has committed to eliminating single-use plastics by 2030. One of the first steps towards achieving this goal is to reduce the volume of virgin plastic currently used in e-commerce mailers.

Reducing waste is an important part of our commitment to protecting natural resources and ensuring healthy communities for generations to come. We’re proud to continue advancing progress towards our sustainability goals through leading innovation and industry partnerships.

Sally Gilligan
  • Head of Strategy
  • Gap Inc

Carter’s® baby & kid clothing recycling program

This spring, TerraCycle® and Carter’s are joining forces to make recycling your little’s most-loved, lived-in clothes super simple. Any non-donatable baby & kid clothing brands are welcome (Psst… no shoes or accessories at this time.) PLUS Carter’s Rewarding Moments® members can earn points* for recycling with the store.

Kohl's: Sustainable Solutions Help Build a Better Future

With such a large retail footprint, Kohl’s is in a unique position to make resounding impacts on the planet and has set goals to ensure that impact is positive. The company’s sustainability strategy is guided by leveraging business practices and decisions that enhance the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. in the last year, the company has made measurable progress toward its 2025 sustainability goals:

  • Achieving its waste and recycling goal to divert 85% of waste from landfills;
  • Achieving 164 solar and wind locations and 101 locations for EV charging stations; and
  • As part of the company’s sustainable sourcing efforts, 80% of facilities producing Kohl’s products have completed the Higg Index Environmental Module. 

IKEA Earth Day 2021: Creating a more sustainable world for future generations

This Earth Month IKEA is showing how every voice and action – no matter how small – has an impact through our ‘Small Stories, Great Impact’ video series. The company is highlighting co-workers and their youngest sustainability ambassadors – their children – to show how everyone is worth engaging to help create a better future. Co-workers and their families inspire us, not only with their commitment to creating a better life at home, but through their efforts to bring sustainability to life at IKEA. 

IKEA stores play an important role locally in the U.S. as the company embarked on the People and Planet Positive initiative and in our fiscal year 2020, produced 1B+ kWh of renewable energy, which far outpaced the amount of energy used in U.S. locations. This is just one example – whether it’s working toward zero emissions for home deliveries, opening solar car parks for the first time or offering 50% plant-based food options in our restaurants, IKEA stores play a vital role in helping to reduce our climate footprint and make sustainability accessible to the many.

Nordstrom Celebrates Earth Day: Progressing Toward Environmental Sustainability Goals

Nordstrom is committed to leaving the world better than we found it. To celebrate Earth Day, Nordstrom shared it has made progress toward its 2025 Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability goals. It is contributing $250,000 in corporate grants to help slow and prevent climate change, contributing $1 million to support industry innovation for textile recycling, taking back 100 tons of beauty packaging to ensure it is recycled, reducing single-use plastic in its value chain by 50%, and ensuring 15% of its product assortment qualifies for Sustainable Style. Learn more here.

Petco Commits to Increasing Assortment of Sustainable Pet Products

Petco recently announced a commitment to increasing its assortment of sustainable pet products to 50% by the end of 2025, reinforcing the company's pledge to corporate social responsibility and to preserving the health and wellness of pets, people and planet.

The company will continue introducing more products that align with at least 1 of 5 of its sustainability pillars: responsible manufacturing, sustainably sourced materials, sustainably sourced ingredients, responsible packaging, and animal welfare. Learn more here.

The Home Depot Harnesses the Power of the DIY Movement to Build a Better World

This Earth Day, The Home Depot is 100 megawatts (MW) closer to its goal of securing 335 MW of alternative or renewable energy by 2025.  Earlier this week, National Grid Renewables released an announcement with the details of The Home Depot's agreement to purchase 100 MW from their solar project in Texas.   

The Home Depot’s newly revamped Eco Actions website is a helpful resource dedicated to environmental issues such as carbon emissions, responsible chemistry, circularity, sustainable forestry and water conservation. The website will feature new content, insights and ideas from innovative partners to inspire sustainable action.

Target Makes Sustainability Easy and Affordable during Earth Month *and* Beyond

Target is committed to reducing its footprint in service of a better future for guests, team members and communities. And this Earth Month, Target is making it easier than ever for guests to make more sustainable choices and save on affordable products for their daily lives. The company is also committed to making more sustainable choices across its operations: infusing sustainability into Target brand products – from materials to manufacturing; creating a culture around recycling and reducing waste; and powering up energy goals – one day at a time.

Tractor Supply Issues 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report

Tractor Supply Company recently released its 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Tear Sheet. The Tear Sheet provides new and updated performance metrics for key areas of performance including energy management, recycling efforts, workforce composition, community involvement and volunteering and corporate governance, among others. Highlights:

  • Energy consumption reduction of 34.8% per sq. ft from 2015 baseline, exceeding 2025 target of 25%
  • Reduced energy consumption 52% on $ Million revenue basis from 2015
  • 14.8% year-over-year reduction in water withdrawn per employee
  • 25,313 tons of cardboard recycled, a 44.2% increase
  • 435,000 vehicle batteries recycled
  • 102,395 gallons of oil recycled, a 15.6% increase
  • 4,100,000 wood pallets recycled, a 24.2% increase

While we have made tremendous progress on our ESG commitments during a challenging year, we are on a journey of continuous improvement and look forward to establishing new and meaningful multiyear goals around the important areas of carbon emissions and diversity, equity and inclusion in 2021. We are committed to improving our ESG performance for the long-term benefit of our stakeholders

Hal Lawton
  • President and CEO
  • Tractor Supply Company

VF Corporation Celebrating Earth Day

VF powers movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and the planet. Through its environmental sustainability efforts, VF is working to protect and restore the Earth. VF supports ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, environmental protection and enforcement, renewable energy investment and innovation, and regenerative agriculture practices. 

The company's key environmental goals are to use 100% renewable energy in all owned-and-operated facilities by 2025; commit to eliminate all single-us plastic packaging by 2025; originate 100% of top 9 materials from regenerative, responsibly sourced, renewable, or recycled sources by 2030; and to lead the large-scale commercialization of circular busines models by 2030.

Walgreens Going the Distance on Earth Day

Walgreens was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as a 2021 Better Buildings Challenge Goal Achiever for reducing energy intensity by 20% across 100 million square feet of retail space – that's 2-1/12 times the area of Central Park. Since transitioning to a digital version of our weekly newspaper advertisement, Walgreens avoided up to 15,000 tons of waste paper, translating to potentially 49,500 cubic yards of landfill space saved. That's equivalent to the volume of 17 hot air balloons.

Thanks to a partnership with Alveole, Walgreens currently has 39,000 bees in our on-campus hive, which support pollination efforts in a three-mile radius around campus. If all our bees stood on top of each other, they'd be nearly as tall as Willis Tower. Since the launch of myWalgreens this past fall, customers have been encouraged to receive their receipts electronically, saving an estimated 87 miles per day of receipt paper – more than 15 times the elevation of Mount Everest.

Read more about how Walgreens is going the distance here.

Walmart’s New Pollinator Commitments Aim to Protect, Restore Pollinator Health and Biodiversity

Building upon more than 15 years of sustainability leadership, Walmart recently launched new commitments to continue its journey toward becoming a regenerative company.
With more than 75% of the world’s food crops depending on pollination, and those pollinator populations in decline, Walmart U.S. has implemented the largest pollinator health effort from a U.S. grocery retailer to-date.
With an eye on feeding the future, Walmart’s pollinator commitments help protect and restore pollinator habitats, reduce threats to pollinators, promote customer education and more.
These new pollinator commitments are part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s goal to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030. 
Read more about Walmart U.S.’s new commitment to pollinator health visit Walmart’s Sustainability Hub to learn more about the company’s efforts. 

Williams-Sonoma: Good for People, Good for the Planet

Aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. set targets that will help keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis while establishing a pathway to net-zero emissions. Working with the Science-Based Targets initiative—the gold standard for goal setting— Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is joining over 1,000 companies reducing their emissions in line with climate science. The company's science-based targets by 2030 include a 50% absolute reduction in scope 1 & 2 emissions and a 14% absolution reduction in scope 3 emissions from materials, production, transportation & product use. In addition, Williams-Sonoma, Inc's will be carbon neutral by 2025.

Old Navy Imagines a Greener Future

Old Navy announced it will eliminate plastic shopping bags in the U.S. and Canada by 2023, alongside other plastic reduction commitments aimed at creating a greener, cleaner future for the next generation. The brand will also invest in a new wave of earth-minded changemakers in honor of the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. In partnership with 11-year-old Next Gen leader Ryan Hickman of Ryan’s Recycling Company, Old Navy will fund 51 GoFundMe fundraisers from young advocates leading environmental progress in their communities.

RILA will continue to update this page to reflect the latest Earth Day news from the industry. If you are a RILA member who would like your company's news featured here, please reach out to Caroline Stec.

  • Climate and Sustainability
  • Ensuring a Safe, Sustainable Future
  • Retail Works for All of Us
  • Sustainability & Environment

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