By doing the right thing, we can reduce the environmental impact of our operations and be an agent of positive change to protect the natural heritage of future generations.
We are committed to significantly reducing the quantity of waste generated by our operations sent to landfills. To that end, we have implemented several concrete recovery and recycling measures for cardboard, paper, plastic, dry building materials, metal, styrofoam, organic material and hazardous waste.
We can take direct action on our energy consumption—and we are doing so. When it comes to transportation, we are optimizing the routes taken by our fleet of trucks and contributing to electrification efforts, with electric vehicle charging stations at some of our stores and at our head office.
For the past several years, we have also been investing in the implementation of technologies that help us improve the energy efficiency of our buildings. In March 2020, we decided to go one step further by announcing the adoption of a target to reduce our GHG emissions to 40% below our 2016 levels by 2030. To achieve this goal, we are focusing first on the completion of a series of energy efficiency initiatives in our distribution centres and corporate stores across the country, which represent a total investment of over $24 million. By the end of 2020, 230 Lowe’s, RONA, and Reno-Depot corporate stores will be equipped with a building management system, and 162 of our corporate stores will have LED lighting systems. It is estimated that by 2022, these two initiatives will have allowed us to reduce our GHG emissions by approximately 8.6%, relative to 2016, which can be compared to removing over 2,675 vehicles from circulation.
Product recovery program
All of our corporate stores recover customers' products that would be hazardous to the environment if they were sent in landfills at the end of their useful life: compact fluorescent light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, batteries, paint, blades, and power tool bit holders. Our partners ÉcoPeinture, Product Care, Call2Recycle, and Exchange-A-Blade then dispose of the products safely or give them a second life. In addition, we are proud to be the retailer that recovers the largest number of batteries in Québec and that offers the highest number of paint collection points in Canada. In 2019, we recovered no fewer than 2,720 tons of paint, to say nothing of the 116 tons of batteries and 96 tons of bulbs and fluorescent tubes that our partnerships stopped from going to landfills. Lowe’s Canada was even awarded an eight Leader in sustainability award by Call2Recycle to recognize its commitment toward battery recycling in 2019.
Charges for plastic bags
Since the summer 2018, our corporate stores are charging for single-use plastic bags to encourage our clients to change their shopping habits. This measure, combined with our in-store awareness campaign, has had a significant impact on plastic bag consumption in our corporate network. In 2019, we noted a 58% drop in their use versus 2017, which represents about 10 million fewer bags.
All profits generated by this initiative are donated to Nature Conservancy of Canada to fund conservation projects across the country.