Canadian Retailer - March/April 2010 - (Page 28)

E N V I RON M E N TA L S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y: R E TA I L E C O - C O N S C IOU S N E S S The green team: creating an environmentally-minded culture Once your eco-footprint has been analyzed and understood, engaging staff with the idea of sustainability to drive the agenda through the whole of the organization is the natural next step. BY MICHAEL MCKINNON © I S TO C K P H OTO.C O M / S P I D E R S TO C K As the frontline ambassadors of your company and brand, it’s of paramount importance to engage store staff on issues of environmental sustainability and stewardship. anadian retailers go to great lengths to establish an environmental presence in their communities, but even the best-laid plans won’t work without staff support from the ground up. “Honestly, it’s vital. We couldn’t do it without our staff,” says Christian Proulx, Rona’s Senior Vice-President of People and Culture. “We are retailers, so each and every one of our 22,000 employees is an ambassador. The customers don’t speak to (Rona president) Robert Dutton; they speak to an employee. The employees have to be knowledgeable, and we want them to share our objectives in that sense.” But while retailers agree they need staff on board, exactly how they secure that support varies. Rona’s approach includes a mix of communication and training, while Sheridan Nurseries got its staff involved as initiatives were being developed. Even a company with Walmart’s clout acknowledges its programs couldn’t f ly without support from its frontline associates, and has incentive programs in place. When Sheridan Nurseries, with nine garden centre locations and more than 900 acres of nursery farms in southern C Ontario, set out to develop its environmental plan of action in January 2008, it invited more than half its employees to a brainstorming retreat. “We really came at it from all angles,” explains Karl Stensson, president of Sheridan Nurseries. Plans to tackle waste reduction and landfill diversion came out of those sessions, as did natural and organic solutions to pest control and water and energy conservation. Staff surprised Sheridan by coming to the retreat with ideas the retailer hadn’t thought of, such as suggestions for in-store recycling improvements and car-pooling. It didn’t stop there; green stewards were named at each store to keep the ball rolling, plans are reviewed annually, and all staff—including those not at the original sessions— are encouraged to offer input. The bonus is that by getting staff involved in the plan’s creation, staff have taken pride in making it work, Stensson says. Those at some stores have even convinced their municipalities to collect the store’s recycling, a service previously restricted to residential sites. 2 8 | C A N A D I A N R E TA I L E R | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 010 | http://www.ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/SPIDERSTOCK

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - March/April 2010

Canadian Retailer - March/April 2010
Publisher’s Desk
Shop Talk
Store Design
In Your Interest
Environmental Sustainability: Back to Basics
Human Resources Supplement
What's Your Impact?
Retail Eco-Consciousness
Greening the Industry
Retail Profile
Advertisers’ Index
At Issue

Canadian Retailer - March/April 2010