Kohl's Aims for Carbon Neutrality by Close of 2010

Kohl's Aims for Carbon Neutrality by Close of 2010

Kohl's Department Stores has set it sights for its U.S. stores, distribution centers and corporate offices to operate with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the close of 2010.

The retail chain of 1,059 stores in 49 states announced its goal yesterday and added that the campaign also covers emissions resulting from business travel.

The move makes Kohl's the first retailer participating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders program to commit to becoming carbon neutral. More than a dozen other Climate Leader partner companies and agencies have made the same commitment. Two that have attained that goal include the Shaklee Corporation and First Environment.

For Kohl's, hitting the net-zero emissions target would be equivalent to taking more than 130,842 vehicles off the road for a year or offsetting the annual emissions from electricity used by more than 99,084 homes, the company said.

The retailer, which joined the Climate Leaders program in 2007, has also pledged to maintain net-zero emissions through 2012, when it will set new goals with the EPA.

Key components to the company's sustainability program involve maximizing energy efficiency, minimizing waste, improving building design, reducing emissions and promoting environmental values.

Progress thus far has come in the areas of:

Green Power Purchases -- Named an EPA 2009 Green Power Partner of the Year, Kohl's tops the agency's list of retailers that purchase green power. This year, Kohl's purchased 851 million kilowatt-hours in renewable energy credits -- enough to meet 71 percent of the company's purchased electricity use. Kohl's says it plans to reach 100 percent green power by the end of 2010.

Solar Power -- With 79 installations in six states, the company lays claim to being the world's largest retail host of solar power. The company plans to expand the program in other stores next year, which would bring its solar hosting to more than 100 sites in keeping with plans announced two years ago.

Central Energy Management Systems -- By 2008, all Kohl's sites were operating with a system that controls most interior and exterior lighting, in addition to the heating and cooling systems. With that building automation network, Kohl's said it reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 12 percent in 2008, even as it added more than one million square feet of retail space by building new stores and expanding existing ones.

 Energy Star -- More than 350 Kohl's stores now bear the Energy Star label as part of the EPA program that singles out commercial buildings and industrial plants in the U.S. with energy efficiency ratings that reach the top 25 percent.