" Sustainability should be second nature to our business practices and intent. " M3D strives to help others achieve this goal. That's our vocation and our expertise.
Leading Retail Businesses Recognize Benefits of Sustainable Environments: CSR & LEED go hand in hand
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is on the rise and companies from all walks of life are seeing the benefit of following this path. Today we will be looking at the Retail sector and how some companies are using these to grow their Brand and reducing their footprint.
Retailers that are focusing on sustainability can realize a number of benefits, including improved customer sentiment, great employee engagement and lower costs. An example of such a retailer is PUMA (Luxury brand owned by Kering) who won the Guardian Sustainable Business Award in 2012. The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards (GSBAs) reward best practice in sustainable business, showcasing innovative corporate initiatives that tackle the most pressing environmental and social challenges businesses face and that are part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy.  Kering who also owns other brands, including iconic luxury houses Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta has committed these brands to complete an annual environmental profit and loss account by 2015 and follow the path of PUMA. These companies have seen that within CSR the building environment also needs to be a major target to help in this change and see the benefits of utilizing LEED, as well as, other sustainable and social measures. According to the USGBC there are only 17 Platinum level projects in the LEED ID+C Retail category in the U.S. Recently, PUMA has become one of those member companies. The newest PUMA outlet location, at Destiny USA mall in Syracuse, New York, was the latest store to be formally recognized with LEED Platinum certification. Formally PPR and seeing CSR benefits PPR changed its name in 2013 to Kering a label meant to signify the company’s ‘caring’ approach to cultivating its brands as well as acknowledging the roots of the company in France’s Brittany region. ‘Ker’ means home in Breton. As they have recognized the importance of CSR, Kering is pushing their brands in the green market on all fronts. In Feb 2014 they announced that Luxury Goods International (LGI), the Swiss-based company that manages the distribution and logistics platform for most of Kering’s luxury brands (Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, McQ, Stella McCartney and Brioni), has gained LEED certification for its center in Sant’Antonino, Canton Ticino. Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs, Kering, commented that “LEED certification of our subsidiary LGI is a great accomplishment, and contributes to the global commitment and work that our brands are doing on a daily basis to reach our Kering sustainability targets.” 
Other Luxury brands are recognizing the benefits of going green, and are starting to talk about it. In 2010 Louis Vuitton opened its first eco-friendly LEED-certified Louis Vuitton store in the world, located in Santa Monica, CA. In 2011 Tiffany launched its own sustainability website, detailing the responsible business practices that have made it a sector leader. On this website they are talking about their CSR leadership “we are taking important steps to evolve our workspaces to reduce climate change impacts. In our hometown of New York City, our corporate offices were consolidated according to the LEED® green building certification program. The offices are LEED certified to the Platinum level, the highest level possible, recognizing our efforts to reduce energy use and other environmental impacts.”
Other retail stores such as Starbucks have pushed beyond a one location certification and have created standards for other locations to follow. Starbucks has currently certified 452 stores in 18 countries. 16 of their stores are in Thailand, including Porto Chino which is the first LEED Gold store for Starbucks in all of Asia. This store includes the use of recycled coffee grounds in table tops, low emitting materials for adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and flooring, over 10% of materials extracted within 500 miles and over 45% lighting power savings through the use of efficient LED fixtures.
Target Corporation has 1,781 stores across the United States and at Target.com. The company has opened 124 stores in Canada and has implemented LEED Certification into all the stores that have opened in 2013. “We take our role as good corporate citizen very seriously, and we’re proud that Target is making a firm commitment to sustainability in Canada,” said Tony Fisher, president, Target Canada. “Striving for LEED certification at our 124 stores opening in 2013 is important as we seek to use our resources responsibly and maintain the health of our communities.”
There are many other retailers that are seeing the benefits of LEED and following these companies, some of them are listed on the following page.
|U.S. Retailers With New Construction Buildings, LEED Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council:||U.S. Retailers With Commercial Interiors, LEED Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council:|
|Chipotle Mexican Grill, Gurnee Mills
Platinum LEED RatingHannaford
Platinum LEED Rating
Office Depot, Anderson Lane
Best Buy, Stafford Township
Silver LEED Rating Kohl’s
Silver LEED Rating
L.L. Bean Data Center
Retail Pilot Supermarket
BP, 29th & J St.
Gold LEED RatingColdwater Creek
Gig Harbor, WA
Gold LEED Rating
San Antonio, TX
Silver LEED Rating L.L. Bean
Silver LEED Rating
Green buildings provide immediate and measurable results for building managers and occupants. LEED enables a project to benchmark energy and water, which is a critical tactic that is saving companies and government millions of dollars, year over year, simply by reducing costs through saved energy, water and other resources.
Kohl’s is one retail giant that has seen the benefits of LEED to its bottom line. They have committed to certify every new ground-up store. They also have 84 stores certified LEED for retail new construction, 1 store Gold Certified LEED for Retail Commercial Interiors and 108 certified under LEED stores Existing Building: Operation & Maintenance. Following this path of LEED not only helped improve building systems and processes, it also contributed measurably to each of the company’s existing environmental initiatives: Maximize energy efficiency, minimize waste, improve building design, reduce emissions and encourage stakeholder engagement.
Overall Buildings meeting LEED’s standards have been shown to have numerous benefits to employees, public image and a company’s bottom line.
Green technology is a popular way of improving public image, and for good reason: people want to know that local businesses are committed to good environmental practices, and nothing demonstrates this commitment like LEED certification. Although many companies consider LEED certification purely for the environmental benefits, the improved publicity and public image are another reason to consider LEED-certified construction.
Lower Operating Costs
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of LEED-certification, and it ranks high on the list of any corporation considering new construction. LEED-certified projects do typically have a higher initial investment because of the need for stricter standards for construction, materials and labor, but this initial investment can be recovered in short order. Various studies have been done to measure increased efficiency among LEED buildings, but the largest of these studies was conducted by the New Building Institute in 2008 and found an average decrease in energy consumption of approximately 24 percent. This sort of savings can easily translate into millions of dollars per year.
Having a green building or site that is recognized by LEED certification is a dramatic and public way of demonstrating a strong commitment to green practices and improving the environment. LEED-certified construction projects also stimulate the local economy, since one of LEED’s best practices is utilizing local materials and labor wherever possible.
LEED-certified buildings have large windows, open spaces, and are generally built with employee or occupant comfort in mind as much as energy savings. Besides offering increased sunlight, LEED buildings also have significantly higher air quality and more comfortable work space for employees. By making work a place where employees feel comfortable and happy, productivity will also increase.
Why Choose LEED?
At the end of the day, LEED certification is the badge of a business that cares strongly about good environmental practices and is willing to spend significant resources pursuing them. Although the upfront costs are significant, LEED projects will save money for businesses in the long term and can significantly improve their public image. As the move to increase environmental awareness continues, more and more businesses will make the commitment.
Looking to build your CSR Vision, Add to your understanding of CSR or Green Building Development, M3D is the partner you need to achieve your goals.
 Puma.com “PUMA wins Guardian Sustainable Business Award 2012”
 Businessoffashion.com “Why Did PPR Change Its Name to Kering”
 Kering.com “Luxury Goods International Attains the Highest Level (Platinum) of LEED Certification”
 Starbucks.com “Global Responsibility Report Goals & Progress 2013”
 Target.com “Target® Seeks LEED Certification for All 2013 Canadian Store Locations”
 AboutMoney.com article “Top U.S. Retail Companies With LEED Certified Stores, Buildings and Facilities”
 USGBC.org “Case Study, Kohl’s Department Stores, 143 Certified Stores and Counting”