Best Buy Surpasses 2012 Climate Goal, Sets New E-waste Target

Best Buy Surpasses 2012 Climate Goal, Sets New E-waste Target

Image CC licensed by Flickr user jiazi

Greener buildings, less waste and assistance from an educated workforce helped Best Buy surpass its 2012 Climate Leaders goal two years early. At the same time, the retailer is determined to boost the amount of used electronics it collects over the next five years.

The company, which bills itself as the "preeminent" retailer of technology, reduced greenhouse gas emissions in its U.S. store operations by 14.8 percent in fiscal (FY) 2010, compared to its 2005 baseline, it revealed in its 2010 Sustainability Report (PDF).

The company originally targeted an 8 percent reduction in emissions, per U.S. retail square foot, through its partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders program. The company is working to develop a new goal to keep its emissions trend moving in the right direction.

A key factor driving emissions trends is energy use, which the company managed to hold steady despite increasing its retail square footage by 5 percent. Best Buy educated its workforce on the importance of energy management, and also looked toward future and long-term improvements through its High Performance Building program. Key elements of the program include the use of skylights, low VOC paints and cleaning supplies, and low-flow water fixtures, while also using LEED guidelines to measure success. The company designed 36 stores last year using LEED guidelines.

The company will also focus on reducing fleet fuel use, tighter operational controls, reduced plug loads, and carbon offsets or renewable energy credits.

Best Buy recognizes that some of its greatest opportunities to reduce environmental impacts involves the vast array of products it sells. It estimates its has sold more than 24 million Energy Star-qualified products that have saved consumers more than $91 million.

Disposal of those products represents another opportunity for the retailer. Best Buy gave consumers the ability to recycled unwanted electronics at its stores every day through the expansion of its recycling program, setting the stage for Best Buy to recycle 1 billion pounds of consumer products over the next five to six years. The company collected roughly 140 million pounds in fiscal 2010.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user jiazi.