Carbon-Neutral Kohl’s Reports Rise in Emissions, Recycling

by | May 26, 2011

Kohl’s first corporate sustainability report reveals that its scope 1 to 4 carbon emissions all rose in 2009, while the department store increased its recycling significantly.

In 2009, scope 1 direct emissions were up 12 percent over 2008 levels, from 24,923 to 28,009 metric tons of carbon equivalent. Scope 2 indirect emissions were up three percent, from 810,358 to 833,834 metric tons. Scope 3 (travel emissions) budged slightly at 0.3 percent, from 5,013 to 5,026 metric tons, and scope 4 emissions (transportation) were up 14 percent, from 182,154 to 208,101 metric tons.

But Kohl’s also opened 40 stores in 2009, lowering its direct emissions per 1,000 square feet from 7.98 to 7.76. Today Kohl’s operates 1,097 stores in 49 states.

Kohl’s currently ranks first in retail and second overall on the EPA’s quarterly rankings of participants in its Green Power Partnership, ordered by their annual green power use in kilowatt-hours. Kohl’s bought more than 1.4 billion kWh last year from wind, solar, biomass and small hydro projects, achieving the carbon neutrality goal it set in December 2009.

The company ranks 12th on EPA’s quarterly rankings for on-site generation, through the retailer’s solar program, accounting for 15,689,000 kWh annually. Most of the company’s emissions are a result of operations-based electricity usage.

As of last December nearly 600 Kohl’s stores – more than 50 percent of the company’s stores – had earned the EPA’s Energy Star label, and 100 were solar powered.

Kohl’s has more than 140 locations certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Since 2008, all newly constructed stores have been built according to a prototype that received LEED initial certification at the Silver level.

In 2009 Kohl’s recycled 136,873 tons of materials – up to a 75.5 percent landfill diversion rate, from 74.6 percent in 2008. Between the two years, Kohl raised its recycling of eight categories of waste. Recycling of LDPE plastic, code #4, rose 106 percent from 1,786 to 3,671 tons, and corrugated cardboard nine percent, from 94,462 to 102,996 tons.

Wood pallet recycling, at 2,403, came close to 2007 levels, bouncing back from 55 tons in 2008. Recycling of mixed bottles and cans soared, from 2 to 252 tons.

But recycling of several categories fell, most notably light bulbs, which dropped from 228 to 22 tons.

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