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BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's Inc. yesterday received an America's Marketplace Recycles! Award from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The award, which recognizes the company for its outstanding recycling efforts in its stores and distribution centers nationwide, was presented to Albertsons at a ceremony in Washington DC on October 24th. The company also announced that it had been awarded the New England grocery industry's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for a new "green" Shaw's supermarket in Worcester, Massachusetts.
The America's Marketplace Recycles! Award was presented to Albertsons by Wastewise, the EPA's premiere voluntary partnership program that recognizes companies and organizations that recycle and reduce solid waste. Albertsons was recognized for its supply chain packaging innovations and continued commitment to recycling a wide variety of materials including corrugated cardboard, plastics, wooden pallets, cooking oil, and beverage containers in its 2,500 stores and 19 distribution centers nationwide.
The Shaw's store honored with the LEED award was redeveloped on a former contaminated industrial site in Worcester, MA. It is the first supermarket in New England and only the second store in the nation to successfully complete the rigorous certification process conducted by the U.S. Green Building Council. The 78,000-square-foot store contains energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, environmental monitoring and controls, refrigeration leak detection technology, and water-saving fixtures. More than 80 percent of the building was constructed using recycled materials, most of which were obtained from within a 500-mile radius to save on transportation fuel costs and to support local suppliers.
Additionally, virtually all of the construction debris from the former structure was diverted from the landfill and recycled. "As one of the nation's largest retailers, we can make a significant difference in protecting the environments of the communities we serve by incorporating sound business practices like recycling and energy conservation into the daily operations of our 2,500 stores, our distribution centers and our offices," said Larry Johnston, Albertsons chairman, c.e.o., and president. "The Shaw's LEED certification in particular is fitting testimony to the company's dedication to environmental causes and we will continue to pursue opportunities to seek LEED certification in additional stores. These environmental initiatives are not only socially responsible, but they make good business sense for a company of our size."
The LEED certification occurs as the company focuses on an accelerated nationwide energy conservation effort implemented in the aftermath of the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes, which resulted in sharply higher energy costs. The initiative, which involves the continued application of new energy-efficient technologies, a strategic reduction of store and office lighting, increased diligence in handling refrigerated products, and monitoring indoor temperatures and environmental conditions, was designed to reduce the company's electrical use by at least 20 million kilowatt hours per month while also lowering energy costs.
The new Albertsons energy conservation initiatives have been implemented in all of the company's stores nationwide. Signs have been placed in each store to inform customers of the program and help them understand and appreciate the reasons for some slight alterations in the store environment. The company has also launched a campaign to build energy awareness among its associates, encouraging them to apply the same energy conservation efforts in their homes as well as at work.
Albertsons continues to explore and pilot test a variety of innovative equipment designed to curb energy use and offer other environmental benefits.
The company announced has also added environmental stewardship to its areas of charitable giving. Since that commitment, the company has contributed over $300,000 and approximately 25,000 volunteer service hours to support various environmental causes.