Two major companies based in New England, Staples and Timberland, were among 17 national leading organizations recently recognized by EPA for taking voluntary steps to use and purchase green power.
EPA's Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program helping to increase the use of green power among U.S. organizations. There are currently hundreds of partners utilizing green power to reduce the environmental impacts from conventional electricity generation, including Fortune 500 companies, local, state and federal governments, trade associations as well as colleges and universities. Each of the award winners are EPA Green Power Partners who must meet or exceed EPA purchase requirements for green power.
“Integrating environmental leadership into the corporate world is one of the important steps in addressing environmental problems, including climate change,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. “When large companies such as Staples and Timberland make the move to use green power, it sends a strong message that alternative power sources are becoming more viable.”
Timberland, an outdoor retail company based out of Statham, N.H. with 78 stores throughout the U.S., is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2010. Their strategies to achieve this goal include their investment in green power, energy efficiency improvements, and the purchasing of wind-based renewable energy certificates (RECs). At their California distribution center, a 400 kilowatt on-site solar array produces approximately 60 percent of the facilities electricity needs. At every retail location Timberland communicates their green power commitment to customers by providing coupon brochures that also describe the benefits of wind power along with a web link for individual action. Store windows display stickers about their carbon neutral commitment and footwear packaging includes “nutritional information” detailing Timberland's green power promise.
Staples incorporated environmental stewardship into their corporate plan early on. The first retail store opened in Brighton, Mass. in 1986 and the main office remains based in Framingham, Mass. To fuel its booming business Staples has purchased nearly 122 million kilowatt hours of green power, representing more than 20 percent of the company's purchased electricity use within the U.S. The majority of Staples' green power consists of renewable energy certificates, but they also purchase direct green power through various utility programs. Staples now has nine active solar power systems on distribution centers and retail stores and is investigating future projects involving fuel cells and wind power. Additionally, there are environmentally preferable products and in-store recycling options in its North American stores. An active participant in EPA's Fortune 500 Green Power Challenge, Staples ranks as one of the largest purchasers and its Green Power initiatives have put the company on both the EPA's National Top 25 list and Top 10 Retail list of green power purchasers, serving as a great example for other businesses to follow.
EPA estimates that the combined effort of the organizations participating in the Green Power Partnership is preventing CO2 emissions equivalent to that which would be emitted annually from nearly 450,000 vehicles.