Our operational footprint across our stores, offices, distribution centres and logistics is significant and is where we have the highest level of direct control to make changes. Based on our impacts, our priorities include greenhouse gas emissions from product shipping and logistics, employee travel and commuting and waste across our operations.
ENERGY & EMISSION
In 2015, we began switching traditional halogen bulbs to LED across our stores in Canada and the U.S. Today energy-efficient LEDs make up 95% of lighting across our stores. We also have a corporate store-door policy that outlines threshold temperatures for which store doors to the street must be closed to conserve energy.
Across all our offices, rather than building new, we have refurbished existing buildings which is more sustainable. The interiors are designed to maximize light and so decrease our energy needs.
We have virtual-meeting technology available for use by all of our locations as well as our global supply partners. This enables us to reduce business travel to only when necessary. To encourage sustainable commuting, Aritzia provides office employees with perks such as discounts for bike shares, a secure bike-storage room and subsidies for public-transit passes and car-sharing services.
MATERIALS & WASTE
Our main waste streams in stores are from packaging used to protect product during shipping from our suppliers. In 2019, we conducted a waste audit across a sample set of stores to identify opportunities to increase our diversion rate, which we're now implementing. Stay tuned for more updates.
We have equipped our offices for recycling all types of materials – from organics to electronics. Our electronics are donated to the Electronic Recycling Association (ERA), which refurbishes items that can be reused and donates them to schools and charities. The ERA partners with Canadian Law Enforcement to address data security concerns.
In 2017, we kicked off a multi-year project to make all of our packaging more sustainable. Our first step was ensuring all e-Commerce packaging was minimized to the extent possible and fully recyclable. We replaced all cellophane plastic bags with protective paper bags and developed a mailer made with over 70% recycled paper for small e-Commerce shipments.
In stores, we used 40% post-consumer content in our retail bags in locations with recycled content by-laws and where required, we pay extended-producer responsibility fees for recycling client packaging. We're currently working to incorporate Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper and increase percent of recycled content into our packaging. Since 2017 all wooden hangers used in stores are certified to the Forest Stewardship Council FSC.
We aim to donate all product that we're unable to sell and divert from landfill. In 2019, we donated product to trusted partners including Good360, Dress for Success and Union Gospel Mission. For more information on our donations program, see Our Community.
Occasionally, we have product that we're unable to sell or donate. In this case, we work with debrand a Vancouver-based company that finds alternative uses for the materials – such as building insulation and car-sear stuffing. As industry-scalable technology for converting old textiles into new textiles is only just emerging, we continue to optimize our internal systems to avoid generating waste in the first place.