Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix recognizes the importance of engaging in programs and initiatives designed to reduce our impact on the environment. Our efforts within this area are focused on waste reduction and diversion, energy conservation and efficiency, and innovation within product offerings.
Waste Reduction & Diversion
Our goal is to help eliminate and reduce the volume of waste destined for landfills through the implementation of cost-effective diversion programs. This past year we achieved a 6% increase in total waste diversion throughout the Company and across the store network. We are pleased that our waste diversion programs continue to deliver positive gains despite growth in our overall store base. In 2009, we recycled 834 tonnes of plastic and aluminum and 27,533 tonnes of fibre, saving the equivalent of more than 446,773 trees.
The goal of zero waste is a lofty one and we are taking steps to understand if this is achievable in our stores. In 2009, we began preparations to launch a zero waste initiative in British Columbia. Administered by WasteLess Environmental Services, the program will pilot in March 2010 in 22 of the lower mainland stores. Through this process, waste is broken down into three material streams:
- Recyclable Materials - anything that is currently recyclable (i.e., bottles, cans, paper, pharmacy bottles, etc.)
- Non-Recyclable Materials - mostly plastic packaging and general waste, excluding recyclables and organic waste
- Organic Waste - lunchroom food waste, paper towels, etc.
The goal of zero waste is to turn organics into compost, reuse recyclables and convert non-recyclables to electricity. We look forward to sharing the results of this pilot in next year’s report.
Now in its fifth year, our Sharps Medication and Disposal Service, offered in all Shoppers Drug Mart / Pharmaprix stores, provides patients and customers with a safe disposal option for their expired medications and used syringes, preventing risks to patient health and to the environment. Items are then transferred from our stores in a tamper-proof container to be incinerated. In 2010, we more than doubled the volume of items being disposed of through this program.
Shoppers Drug Mart / Pharmaprix continues to emphasize best practices in bagging and provide affordable, reusable bags for customers in an effort to reduce the number of plastic bags issued in our stores. Consumers are beginning to change their habits in this regard, making the switch to reusable bags. Municipal governments are helping to encourage this type of behavior by implementing plastic bag bans or instituting a charge for the use of plastic bags. The City of Toronto is one example of a municipality which has made it mandatory for retailers to charge customers $0.05 for each plastic bag. For those consumers who still choose to purchase a plastic bag in the city, we have introduced a more environmentally friendly bag, which provides higher item capacity and consists of 20% recycled resin content. We expect that additional municipalities across Canada will also adopt this type of action to divert plastic bags from their waste systems and we fully support their efforts in this area.
Part of our efforts to improve energy efficiency is the continued deployment of energy management systems in our stores. We began this project in 2007 and this past year we accelerated the roll-out, installing energy management systems in 220 stores, bringing the total number of stores on the system to 400, which represents one-third of our store base. By allowing us to centrally control a store’s HVAC, lighting and refrigeration systems, this system not only improves air quality and reduces total energy consumption, it also reduces the operating expenses at store-level. We will continue to implement these systems in all new and relocated stores planned for the coming year.
Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix is a proud participant in the WWF’s Earth Hour each March. This past year, over 200 participating stores across Canada showed their commitment to reducing their environmental footprint by reducing lighting by up to 60% for the hour. Given the positive response from our Associate-owners, their store teams and our customers, we will expand our participation this year to include 400 stores and will be implementing an energy audit to understand what impact this event has on energy savings.
In an effort to truly evaluate the impact of our operations on the environment, we have begun to track utilities usage in our stores. We have established benchmarks that will assist us in determining the effect our energy conservation initiatives have on our overall consumption. Our data is limited to those stores which are freestanding and for which we administer the management of our energy and resource suppliers.
Environmentally friendly Products
An increasing amount of consumers are making the switch to “greener” products for their homes and their families. In response to this trend, we have continued to evolve our private label and exclusive brand offerings of such products. This past year, we further extended Bio-Life®, our line of environmentally friendly household products, by introducing 10 additional SKUs. Customer acceptance of Bio-Life® products has been exceptional, with sales increasing by 19% year-over-year. In 2010, we will continue to introduce new, innovative products to help our customers make it easier to obtain high-quality, green options for their home.
Our Nativa® organics line continues to meet the growing demand for convenient, affordable organic food options. With Nativa® organics, Canadians can feel good about ingredients that are grown without chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides and herbicides, or harmful contaminants. All Nativa® products are third-party certified by one of nine internationally recognized agencies that require adherence to strict guidelines for organic manufacturing and production. In 2009, sales of the line grew by more than 30%, clearly demonstrating its popularity and efficacy. We will continue to expand our Nativa® offering in 2010, providing Canadians with an even greater assortment of organic alternatives.
6% increase in total waste diversion
19% growth in the sales of Bio-Life® products
400 stores equipped with energy management systems
Making a Difference
“I really appreciate that 'green' products are now carried at Shoppers Drug Mart locations. I like the Bio Life dish soap because it is very concentrated, so we are able to use less soap and the bottle still lasts and lasts. It's safe for our septic too! I look forward to the line expanding even further.”Beverley Marinello, Customer, Vancouver, BC