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EDMONTON, Alta. -- Since natural and organic retailer Planet Organic Health Corp. here formed the Eco Karma Committee, an employee-based initiative dedicated to improving the environment and corporate citizenship, it's experienced a lot of changes for the better.
As part of Planet Organic's Good Works program, the Eco Karma Committee was created to lead the way in creating a healthier, more earth-friendly Planet Organic. "Our purpose was to upgrade Planet Organic Market's eco-commitment," said Pat Tufts, chair of the committee and a store manager in Calgary, Alta. "We've made a lot of progress over the past year, and now we're making a positive difference."
Since the committee was developed, Planet Organic has built partnerships with the Sierra Club of Canada, a grass-roots nonprofit agency dedicated to protecting the integrity of global ecosystems. Planet Organic now donates a portion of profits to the organization in an effort to expand environmental initiatives throughout Canada.
"We also wanted to help children in third-world countries," noted Tufts. "We chose the Foster Parents Plan of Canada because it's a child-centered development organization improving the lives of children, their families, and communities in 45 developing countries since 1937."
For each Planet Organic across Canada, three children from Foster Parents Plan are sponsored by the company. So far 15 children are being sponsored, and with two more locations opening soon, six more children will join the list. Planet Organic Markets also encourages its customers to sponsor other children through the plan.
In addition, the Eco Karma Committee has teamed up with the Pembina Institute, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to sustainable energy solutions, to harness the power of the wind into electricity. Planet Organic purchases wind power energy for more than 50 computers, including all cashiers' tills. The bulk purchase for 24- megawatt hours of wind energy is equivalent to 24 tons of CO2 emissions, or taking 20 average cars off the road for an entire year. "We know that clean, renewable sources of energy have direct health benefits and are worth investing in," observed Tufts. "That's why we buy electricity from the Pembina Institute."
Another Eco Karma Committee goal is to find environmentally superior products to clean stores, eco-friendly deli containers, recycling stations, in-house recycling, and food donations. "We're testing out new pagoda containers, which are made from managed trees and can be composted," said Tufts. "We're even using New Leaf Good newspaper for our newsletters, made from 100 percent recycled, 40 percent post-consumer waste, processed chlorine-free."
Planet Organic Markets is also in the process of creating an Eco Karma Booklet for each supermarket. The booklet will educate staff how they can create a healthier environment.