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.
Aritzia-managed offices, stores and distribution centres are carbon neutral and offset with 100% renewable energy and VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) certified carbon offsets.
What does it mean to be carbon neutral?
Being carbon neutral means accounting for and offsetting all of our business's scope 1 and scope 2 emissions — this includes carbon emitted by fuel, electricity and natural gas used across Aritzia-managed offices, stores and distributions centres.
For every unit of carbon we release into our atmosphere, we purchase the equivalent in Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) or Carbon Offsets.
RECs are credits that go towards supporting sustainable infrastructure and technology that offsets carbon emitted from electricity consumption.
Carbon Offsets are issued by projects whose activities work to actively lower the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. These projects are certified to internationally recognized standards such as VCS, and every carbon offset equals one tonne of carbon dioxide (tCO2e).
In order to achieve carbon neutrality, we’ve taken a dual approach:
- To compensate for the carbon emitted through our use of electricity, we’re purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) that go towards wind energy projects in Oklahoma and Manitoba.
- To offset the carbon emitted through our use of natural gas, we’re partnering with EcoAct to invest in Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certified Carbon Offsets.
This dual approach ensures that the amount of carbon we produce each year through owned or controlled sources and through our purchased electricity is 100% equal to and accounted for by the carbon we prevent or sequester each year.
OUR PARTNERSAbout 3degrees
3Degrees makes it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change. As a certified B Corporation, they provide renewable energy, transportation decarbonization and other emission reduction solutions to Fortune 500 companies, utilities and other organizations globally.
Learn more at 3degrees.com
EcoAct, an Atos company, is an international sustainability consultancy and project developer. The company has unmatched depth and breadth in delivering holistic solutions to enable businesses to reduce their carbon emissions while driving commercial performance. EcoAct is a CDP gold partner, a founding member of ICROA, a strategic partner in the implementation of the Gold Standard for the Global Goals and reports to the UN Global Compact.
For more information www.eco-act.com
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.