By Megan Zielinski, contributing writer
Macy’s, one of the nation’s premier retailers, announced the company’s sustainability initiatives to take place over the next year, including installation of more vehicle charging stations, continued implementation of LED and solar lighting, increasing the issuance of digital receipts, and incorporating recycled products to further reduce packaging materials.
The retailer has been improving upon their sustainability principles each year since 2008 when the retailer began the multi-year strategic program; more than 100 sustainable concepts have been integrated into Macy’s over the past six years. “We are more committed today than ever to pursuing new advances in sustainability and finding pragmatic steps we can take to become responsible stewards of our environment while also engaging our workforce and reducing costs,” says Amy Hanson, the Macy’s, Inc. executive vice president who oversees sustainability activities. Last year, the company reduced the use of electricity by 38 percent since 2002, and a 95 percent adoption rate of recycled papers included in marketing resources.
In partnership with Volta Industries, Macy’s plans to install 17 free-to-operate vehicle (EV) charging stations outside of eight stores in the Los Angeles region by this fall, totaling to 33 EV charging stations in southern California Macy’s locations. In 2011, Macy’s became recognized as the first retailer to trial the use of the charging stations, setting-up 16 at five Macy’s stores and one Bloomingdale’s store in San Diego locations. The charging stations are designed for accessibility to customers with electric vehicles, along with supporting the shift from fuel consumption to renewable energy.
After replacing more than 1.1 million regular light fixtures with LED bulbs in over 800 Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores throughout the country, cutting energy intake by more than 73 percent, Macy’s plans to include the energy-efficient bulbs in all Macy’s store nationwide by this year. Select stores and distribution centers in states such as, California, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts will be remodeled with solar power energy roofs in 2014 and 2015. Macy’s plans to install 20 additional solar energy systems on-top of 55 already implemented at Macy’s and Bloomingdale locations.
The company’s product development group, Macy’s Private Brands, has teamed up with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)—a trade organization made up of retailers, manufacturers, brands, government and non-government associations, and educational professionals, representing more than a third of the global apparel and footwear market—working toward addressing social and environmental challenges in the global and footwear industry.
In the coming months, Macy’s Private Brands will work together with market merchandise vendors, in effort to reduce the use and waste of packaging materials. The retailer plans to properly adjust the size of packaging containers, integrate recycled fibers into garment tags, and use FCS-certified paper hangtags—saving company costs while decreasing the amount of waste exposed to the environment.
Macy’s goal for this upcoming year is to continue to decrease the use of paper in the billing and transaction process even more. Last year, about 18 percent of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s customers switched to making electronic billing payments, saving the company from using nearly 745,000 pounds of paper in just one year alone. Customers also have the option to receive receipts through email, providing convenience and protection as the slips of paper are typically discarded with the shopping bag. About 6 percent of store transactions were paperless in 2013.
This spring, Macy’s collaborated with the National Recreation and Park Association, developing the Macy’s Heart Your Park program, raising more than $700,000 to be distributed to recreational and community parks, and conservatives across the country.