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 & EMISSIONS
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are found throughout Aritzia’s value chain. In our operations, including our store network, offices and distribution centres, GHG emissions are mostly associated with heating, lighting and transportation. In 2020, Aritzia disclosed its Climate Strategy through CDP Climate Change. Our public response can be viewed here.
Emissions Reduction Activities
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 electricity and third-party-certified carbon offsets.
What does it mean to be carbon neutral?
Carbon neutral operations are accountable for offsetting all of our business' 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. In order to achieve carbon neutrality, we’ve taken a dual approach:
- Renewable Electricity
For every unit of electricity purchased, we purchase the equivalent in Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). RECs are credits that go toward supporting sustainable infrastructure and technology to produce renewable electricity. To compensate for the carbon emitted through our use of electricity in Canada and the USA, we’re purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) that go toward wind energy projects in Manitoba, Canada and Oklahoma, USA. Therefore, purchasing our electricity from the grid has resulted in 100% of our operations being powered by renewable electricity.
- Carbon Offsets
Carbon offsets are issued by projects whose activities work to actively lower the amount of carbon dioxide emitted, or already existing, in the atmosphere. These projects are certified to internationally recognized standards such as the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) ― every carbon offset equals one tonne of carbon dioxide (tCO2e).To offset the carbon emitted through the use of natural gas in our operations and fleet vehicles, we’ve invested in a certified carbon offset project. The carbon offset project we’ve selected is an award-winning carbon credit initiative that conserves a globally significant area in the region of our home base in British Columbia, Canada. Managed by The Nature Conservancy of Canada, the project creates climate, community and biodiversity benefits through conservation activities.
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.
Binners’ Project, an award-winning program, is dedicated to fostering social and economic inclusion, building community resilience and engaging on sustainability issues. Since August 2020, we’ve proudly partnered with Binners’ Project to align with our Zero Waste efforts, diverting the majority of our waste and recycling away from landfills.
Learn more at binnersproject.org
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.Recycled & Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Wood-Based Materials:
- We're currently working to incorporate Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper into our packaging, as well as increase recycled content.
- Currently, 64% by weight of all ongoing and future orders of our retail and ecommerce packaging contain certified sustainable standard materials — either recycled or FSC content.
- By mid-2021, our goal is to increase this to 100%. By the end of 2021, all mini and small retail bags will contain 40% post-consumer recycled fibres. Additionally, we use 40% post-consumer recycled content in all retail bags in locations with recycled content by-laws.
- Our on-product packaging for Babaton, Wilfred, Wilfred Free, Denim Forum, Auxiliary, Super Puff™, and all price tickets contain recycled or FSC content.
- Since 2017, all wooden hangers used in stores are certified to the FSC standard.
- We’ve been working to eliminate all unnecessary virgin plastics from our non-reusable retail and ecommerce packaging since 2017. Our retail bag handle contains 30% recycled content for all future orders. This continued effort will allow us to meet our target of eliminating 100% of virgin synthetic materials from our single-use retail and ecommerce packaging.
- Across the fashion industry, individual clear plastic polybags are a common way to transport goods from factories to distribution centres and stores. Many believe these can’t be removed ― but we felt differently. After a two-year pilot, we decided these individual bags were not always necessary and worked to reduce and eliminate them wherever possible.With this updated packing method, we’ve eliminated plastic by weight: 2,900 kg in 2019 and 4,600 kg in 2020, which results in reduction of plastic by 84% per carton used to transport the selected products for this initiative.
End of Life Destination
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-seat 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.