Supercenter retailer Meijer is targeting a 50% cut in absolute carbon emissions by 2025.
In announcing the plan Tuesday, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer said it will meet the commitment by building on current energy and truck fleet efficiency programs. That includes more renewable energy procurement and pilots of new technologies, such as energy-saving geothermal projects for refrigeration next year.
Meijer reported that it has reduced emissions by 17% since 2014, a cutback equal to a 30% decrease in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per square foot. The reduction came even with the opening of 52 new stores and new distribution facilities, the company said.
“At Meijer, we believe in taking responsibility for the well-being of the world around us,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said in a statement. “We are reducing carbon emissions not only because it makes good business sense, but because it aligns with our values and mission of enriching lives in the communities we serve.”
Meijer noted that it aims to be a leader in carbon management by cutting emissions faster than scientific guidelines for combatting global warming. Citing a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the retailer said that greenhouse gas emissions would need to be cut in half by 2030 to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“Meijer has a longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship that leads back decades to when Fred Meijer spoke at the first Earth Day celebration in Grand Rapids in 1970,” according to Vik Srinivasan, senior vice president of properties and real estate at Meijer. “We strive to be a good neighbor, which isn’t just about serving our communities today. It’s also about protecting our planet for tomorrow, and that’s more important than ever.”
In 2020, for the third straight year, Meijer was recognized as a SmartWay Excellence Award winner as a mixed carrier by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The chain said it also has been recognized for reducing refrigerant emissions at all of its supercenters under the EPA’s GreenChill Program, earning multiple GreenChill Superior Achievement awards for reaching its refrigerant leak rate goal by installing leak detection systems, following strict maintenance policies and replacing end-of-life equipment.
Meijer, too, has focused on constructing environmentally responsible buildings. The company said it uses the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard as a guide to building efficient stores. Overall, the retailer operates 258 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
“Lessening our impact on the environment through a continued commitment in reducing carbon emissions is an issue that is important to us and our customers,” commented Erik Petrovskis, director of environmental compliance and sustainability at Meijer. “We’ve made significant progress over the years, but we look forward to continuing to do what is right for the world we live in.”