Solar Store to Help Consumers Make Sustainable Shopping Choices

Safeway Inc., one of the largest retail users of renewable energy, today unveiled its newest solar-powered grocery stores in Northern California to kick off a week of Earth Day activities and programs focused on the company's commitment to the environment and helping consumers pursue greener, more sustainable lives. At the same time, the company released two reports chronicling extensive sustainability efforts and community partnerships.

State and local officials joined Safeway representatives on a tour of the Placerville store's rooftop solar panel installation. It is one of 23 stores in California targeted for renewable solar energy. The Safeway store in Fairfield is also unveiling its new solar power system, which harnesses energy from the sun and decreases the store’s reliance on traditional greenhouse gas (GHG)-emitting fossil fuel energy.

“With the addition of solar energy to our GHG reduction tool kit, Safeway is taking a leadership role in the retail sector in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and focusing on operating a greener, more ecologically focused company,” said Joe Pettus, Senior Vice President of Fuel and Energy. “Throughout our vast operations, we are taking a closer look at how we impact the environment, identifying areas for improvement and acting on them.”

Solar equipment at the Placerville and Fairfield stores provides about 20 percent of the stores’ average annual power usage and up to 48 percent of peak power usage. By using solar energy at the two stores and the company’s flagship solar store in Dublin, Calif., Safeway is removing 1.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide from the air, the equivalent of taking 144 vehicles off the road annually. The entire 23-store solar program will remove 12.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide from the air, the equivalent of taking 1,045 cars off the road annually.

Safeway is also helping consumers live greener lives by highlighting and discounting earth-friendly products in a free “Because We Care About the Environment” booklet being distributed in stores. Each featured product is manufactured, packaged or grown with a focus on sustainability. The booklet features “10 Simple and Easy Eco Tips,” to becoming a more conscious consumer. The tips include:

  • Installing compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth
  • Using econ-friendly cleaning products
  • Turning the thermostat down during the winter

Also in stores, each customer who spends $50 receives a reusable Safeway or O Organics shopping bag to encourage reuse and decrease the number of plastic and paper bags in landfills.

Focus on Green

Along with the solar store conversion and in-store consumer campaign, Safeway this week releases two reports showing the company’s commitment to its communities and the environment. The annual “Investing in our Environment” Environmental Status Report chronicles all sustainability efforts, including a broad recycling program in which the company recycled more than one million pounds of materials in 2007, equivalent to saving 8.5 million trees. The “Corporate Social Responsibility Report” details Safeway’s extensive business ethics, philanthropy, food safety, diversity and corporate governance policies. Both documents are available online at Click “Investor Relations” and “Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Earth Day activities are just part of Safeway’s overall environmental focus and company goal to operate a cleaner, more sustainable business. Safeway’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative makes it one of the largest retail users of renewable energy, utilizing solar, wind power and biodiesel fuel throughout its operations. In January Safeway became one of the first major retailers in the United States to convert its entire fleet of more than 1,000 trucks to cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel. The decision by Safeway will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 75 million pounds annually, the equivalent of taking nearly 7,500 passenger vehicles off the road each year.

Safeway is also one of the largest retail purchasers of wind energy, using 57 million kilowatt hours of wind energy, enough to power all 303 Safeway retail fuel stations, all stores in San Francisco, California and Boulder, Colorado, as well as all of the company headquarters and all corporate offices in Northern California.

Committed to leading by example, Safeway was the first major retailer to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, the world’s first and North America’s only legally binding GHG allowance trading system, and the California Climate Action Registry, which commits the company to reduce its carbon footprint by 6 percent from year 2000 levels. The California Climate Action Registry is the state’s only official registry for greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects and will have an active role in California’s implementation of AB-32, the States’ Global Warming Solutions Act.

In daily operations, Safeway has implemented unique energy-saving strategies throughout its manufacturing, distribution and grocery stores by installing new energy-efficient technologies, introducing new maintenance procedures and implementing new sustainable design and construction practices. New lighting, refrigeration, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and building control systems are evaluated with sustainability in mind. These efforts, coupled with an employee education program, have resulted in lower energy usage and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Additional information about the company’s environmental programs can be found at Click on “About Us” and “Going Green.”

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