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Macy’s Cuts Electricity Usage By 38%, Sets New Sustainability Goals

Since 2002, Macy’s has reduced its electricity usage by 38 percent and achieved a 95 percent adoption rate of recycled or certified paper used in marketing materials, according to a recent announcement.

The retailer says it already has implemented more than 100 new sustainability ideas over the past six years. As often is the case, innovation has begotten innovation, and the company is looking to take further actions to improve its sustainability performance. Some of these actions include installation of additional electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, continued rollout of LED lighting and solar, and new efforts to reduce packaging waste.

EVs, LEDs and Renewables

The clothing retailer is collaborating with Volta Industries to install 17 new free-to-operate EV charging stations outside eight Macy’s stores in the Los Angeles area by late fall 2014. These installations will bring to 33 the total number of EV charging stations available to customers at Macy's store locations in southern California.

In 2011, Macy’s became one of the first major department stores to pilot the use of EV charging stations when it agreed to install 16 charging stations outside five Macy’s stores and one Bloomingdale’s store in the San Diego area. Collectively, these charging stations help promote the reduction of fuel consumption and the transition to renewable energy.

On the LED front, Macy’s says it has entered a new phase of its program to install LED light bulbs in stores nationwide. The company already has installed more than 1.1 million LED bulbs in more than 800 Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores nationwide, cutting energy consumption used in lighting by up to 73 percent compared with conventional bulbs replaced. In 2014, LED technology is being extended to begin replacing fluorescent fixtures in store locations.

In an effort to expand its use of renewables, Macy’s is planning and developing 20 additional solar power arrays to be installed on the roofs of stores and distribution centers in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and other states in 2014 and 2015. By the end of 2013, solar energy was being generated on 55 active installations at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s facilities. This seems to have paid off; Macy’s made it into the top ten of the 2013 Solar Capacity Rankings, which ranks companies by the total installed capacity of their systems and the number of operating installations, as well as showing the geographic diversity of their solar deployment.

In 2013, Macy’s also committed itself to increased energy efficiency when it joined Sprint and Johnson Controls to upgrade more than 200 million square feet of building space to cut energy use by at least 20 percent by 2020, as part of the Obama Administration’s Better Building Challenge.

Tackling Waste

Macy’s is working to reduce waste in the merchandise supply chain by standardizing the size of packing cartons, incorporating recycled polyester fibers in many woven garment labels, minimizing packaging materials and adopting paper hangtags made from FSC-certified paper.

Another waste-reduction strategy is setting new and higher goals to increase customer adoption of electronic billing statements and electronic bill payment. In 2013 alone, nearly 18 percent of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s customers opted for paperless statements, saving about 745,000 pounds of paper.

Likewise, the company is driving adoption of digital receipts, which are available in all Macy’s stores nationwide. When making a purchase, customers can choose to have a copy of their receipt emailed to them, eliminating unnecessary use of paper receipts. In 2013, about 6 percent of all store transactions were paperless.

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