Best Buy is hoping its customers will become environmental stewards. The retail giant has, for the first time ever, set a goal to help consumers save $5 billion on utility costs and reduce their collective carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2030.
The move is partly a response to what consumers themselves want.
“The vast majority of Americans–and certainly our own employees and customers–are concerned about the environment, especially after the devastating natural disasters in U.S., Puerto Rico, and Mexico in recent years,” Best Buy spokesman Matthew Smith tells TCB. “We find that more and more customers seek energy efficient products, too.”
To help customers reduce their own emissions, Best Buy plans to steer them toward more Energy Star products, including smart thermostats and LED lighting. The retailer also will offer extended electronics recycling and repair services.
“Best Buy exists to help people enrich their lives through technology, which certainly embraces ecofriendly options that benefit our customers and planet,” says Alexis Ludwig-Vogen, Best Buy director of environmental sustainability and compliance, in a statement. “We believe a combination of eco-friendly products and services, along with continued improvements in our own operations, can produce measurable results for everyone.”
For its own part, Best Buy will continue to work on its company goal of decreasing emissions by 75 percent by 2030. These efforts have involved—or will involve—switching store facilities to renewable energy sources and LED lighting, switching to a hybrid vehicle Geek Squad fleet, and investments in on-site solar panels and solar farms.
The company is also introducing more and more automated technology into distribution centers to improve efficiency and reduce shipping waste. This includes new machines that will create custom boxes that better fit products—a move that will produce 40 percent less cardboard excess and eliminate the need for plastic fillers.
To date, Best Buy has reduced its carbon emissions by hundreds of thousands of metric tons since its 2009 baseline, says Smith. In just the first year of using hybrid Geekmobiles, the retailer saved 14,000 gallons of gas. According to Best Buy, it’s also the nation’s largest collector of recyclable electronics and appliances—having collected more than 2 billion pounds’ worth since 2009.
“Technologies including LED lighting in our stores, a fleet of hybrid vehicles for our Geek Squad Agents and more save energy, which saves money,” says Smith. “[So] having a sustainable business model makes business sense.”