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Giving to Non-Profit Environmental Organizations
Corporate giving is an important part of a retail company's environmental responsibility policy. Planning a corporate giving policy that matches the values and goals of the company, while also helping to meet community needs, is vital for a policy's success.
Breadth of Practice
For retailers, deciding which organizations or projects to allot their charitable dollars is not always easy. The case studies in the Greening Retail best practices database offer a few ideas on this. They also offer ideas on how raising funds for certain initiatives can help to increase awareness among the public.
Corporate giving to local initiative aids in creating a positive relationship between retailers and the communities where they are situated. On the other hand, giving to organizations that will apply the money nationally or internationally where it is most needed and where activities throughout their supply chain have impact, will also align with a retail company's environmental objectives.
One way that retailers can contribute to environmental initiatives is to help fundraise through publicity campaigns directed at their patrons. Another awareness and fundraising strategy is to tie environmental donations to the sale of particular products. Instead of using products to raise awareness and funds, IKEA used their pre-existing loyalty card.
Although the majority of the case studies in environmental charity-giving section of the Greening Retail database pertain to cash donations, a few describe donations in-kind donations in the form of materials or staff time.
The following table summarizes the types of practices found in the Greening Retail best practice database that pertain to donations to environmental organizations and includes the number of companies for which this practice is described in the database.
Donate to Local Initiatives
Corporate giving to local initiatives helps to set the tone for the relationship between retailers and local communities. For example, to contribute to local communities, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) set up the Urban Sustainability Grants for each MEC store community. The grants range from $500 to $5,000.
In 2007, all of ASDA's stores and depots could choose to support environmental projects that help to improve the local area. For instance, some of their stores near the coast adopted beaches, which involves working with their local council to keep the beaches clean and safe.
Launched in 2005, Wal-Mart Canada's Green Grants is a national initiative to support local efforts to create greener, healthier communities. In the first two years of the program, Wal-Mart contributed $526,000 to 82 community naturalization initiatives.
Outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia, with the grand opening of its new Boulder store on the Pearl Street Mall, announced the winner of an online "Voice Your Choice" campaign awarding $5,000 to a local environmental organization selected by the community.
Many UK town centres have suffered as major retailers have moved out to the suburbs. Throughout the country, Boots supports schemes working to improve and regenerate town centres by addressing issues such as crime and environmental decline. Where possible, they encourage individual store managers to get involved personally at a local level. There is also a central budget available to support their activities. In 2005/06, they invested a total of £370,000 in these voluntary town centre management initiatives and business improvement
Donate to Organizations Working Nationally or Internationally
Giving to national or international organizations that will apply the money to areas where it is most needed will also align with a retail company's environmental objectives. Many companies will give back to the places where their businesses have environmental impact. For example, the $2.2 million of funding support provided by Office Depot as part of the Alliance with Conservation International, NatureServe and The Nature Conservancy continued through 2006. The Alliance reflects one of the largest-ever commitments by a corporation to work with conservation groups to support sustainable forestry.
The Home Depot Foundation is giving Habitat for Humanity $30 million in financial and in-kind support and technical resources to make at least 5,000 homes built by Habitat affiliates more energy efficient and sustainable. The Home Depot Foundation's Partners in Sustainable Building program will provide energy-efficient and sustainable building resources for approximately 17 percent of all single- and multi-family homes built by Habitat for Humanity over the next five years.
IKEA recognises the need to contribute to capacity building for forestry knowledge in the countries where they source their timber. Although many of the forests where their wood comes from are similar in biological terms, the people, traditions, legislation and forest practices may differ markedly. In 2001, in order to facilitate information exchange and relationship-building between countries near the Baltic Sea, IKEA, together with the Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre established an international one-year programme in sustainable forestry.
Many of the practices described here are quite unique to the retailer, such as Wal-Mart's decision to give money to conserve the same amount of land that they develop. In this way, their donations are directly correlated to their activities. Wal-Mart has partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to create "Acres for America," which will conserve critical wildlife habitats for future generations. Wal-Mart has committed $35 million for the next 10 years to conserve at least one acre of priority wildlife habitat for every acre developed for company use.
Donations from Customers
One way that retailers can contribute to environmental initiatives is to help fundraise through publicity campaigns directed at their patrons. For example, when customers requested to "add a dollar" to the Eddie Bauer Global ReLeaf tree project, the company planted a new tree in North America on their behalf. It was part of the continuing partnership with American Forests to reforest areas that have been devastated by natural disasters and plant trees in and around urban areas. Customers could "Add a Dollar, Plant a Tree" through their catalogue or on-line at eddiebauer.com.
Donations From Sales of Particular Products
Another awareness and fundraising strategy is to tie environmental donations to the sale of particular products. For example, the renaturalization of river landscapes of Neckar, Weser, Elbe, Isar and Rhine is the goal of C&A's "Living Rivers" project. C&A has supported this project of Deutsche Umwelthilfe since 1998 with 50,000 euros annually, of which approximately 25,000 euros originates from the sale of environment-friendly cotton carrying bags. In the past year, Coles Myer supermarkets sold more than 4 million reusable Go Green carry bags. Proceeds from the sale of the bags contribute to the Go Green Fund, which supports their partners, Clean Up Australia, Planet Ark and Landcare Australia, and their environmental projects. Since the Fund's inception in 2004, they have donated over $1.5 million to their Go Green partners.
Donations Tied to Loyalty Card
Instead of using products to raise awareness and funds, IKEA used their pre-existing loyalty card. IKEA UK teamed up with the Woodland Trust to help expand the country's forests. Ikea will donate the equivalent of a square foot of forest every time customers swipe their Ikea Family loyalty card. This partnership with Woodland Trust will run for an initial four years and, over that period, Ikea hopes to raise at least £1.3 million to create an additional 181 hectares (452 acres) of UK woodland.
Donate Percentage of Sales
1% For The Planet is an alliance of businesses committed to leveraging their resources to create a healthier planet. Members recognize their responsibility to and dependence on a healthy environment and donate at least 1% of their annual sales to environmental organizations worldwide. Mountain Equipment Co-op was the first major retailer in Canada to join 1% For The Planet
Although the majority of the case studies of the Greening Retail database pertain to cash donations, a few describe in-kind donations in the form of materials or staff time.
Morrisons is donating an Action Earth Educational Gardening Box to its local primary school.
The Body Shop donates about 17,000 hours a year of paid staff time to local organizations working to on one of their five core Value commitments - Activate Self Esteem, Defend Human Rights, Against Animal Testing, Support Community Trade and Protect Our Planet. That's an average of 14 hours per month, per shop. Community Service enables The Body Shop to give something back to the communities that support their shops.
This synopsis was compiled from case studies in the Greening Retail Best Practice Database. Sources for the information in the case studies are cited in the database.
This database contains links to case studies of environmental best practice from retailers around the world. You can search this database by the name of the company only, or you can find case studies that match one or several specific criteria, such as the type of retailer, the type of best practice, the company's country of origin, and/or project return on investment.
Simply select your search criteria in the spaces provided and hit the "search" button to come up with a list of the kinds of case studies you're looking for.
Please note that we cannot include all the practices of every retailer; therefore, the non-inclusion of a company, or of a certain area of practice for a company, does not mean that they do not presently have progressive environmental initiatives in these areas.
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