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Macy’s Releases 2014 Sustainability Plan

Macy’s Inc. is adopting practices to reduce waste and packaging in the merchandise supply chain and among private brand products as part of its 2014 plan to decrease the company’s environmental footprint, the retailer announced last week.

The department store chain released its 2014 objectives in a multi-year plan to integrate sustainability practices across products, facilities, and customer services. Since Macy’s set sustainability goals in 2008, the company has taken more than 100 actions to curtail its environmental impact, said Amy Hanson, Macy’s executive vice president overseeing sustainability practices.

“We have come a long way in making our company more efficient, less wasteful and greener, which is important to our customers, associates, shareholders and communities,” Hanson said in a press release.

Among the new initiatives for 2014, Macy’s revealed plans to reduce waste by standardizing the size of packing cartons, using recycled polyester fibers in woven garment labels, and using paper hang tags made from FSC-certified paper on its private brand merchandise, the company said.

Additionally, Macy’s Private Brands has joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a trade organization representing more than one-third of the global apparel and footwear market and working to reduce environmental and social impacts of products, according to the release.

Macy’s is transitioning toward greater sustainability at the store level as well. The company aims to drive customer adoption of paperless billing statements, electronic bill pay, and digital receipts. Nearly 18 percent of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s customers chose paperless billing statements in 2013, saving 745,000 pounds of paper. About 6 percent of all store transactions in 2013 were paperless, according to the press release.

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The retailer has also installed more than 1.1 million energy-saving LED light bulbs in more than 800 Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, decreasing electricity usage by 37 percent between 2002 and 2012. Macy’s will expand use of LED light bulbs in stores nationwide to reduce energy consumption by another 6 to 10 percent by 2015, according to its 2013 Report on Social Responsibility.

Building on the progress of its energy-saving upgrades, the retailer is also installing clean, renewable energy systems at stores and facilities. It will set up 20 solar systems on roofs of stores and distribution centers by 2015, adding to the 55 solar power systems already stationed on facilities.

By late fall, Macy’s shoppers in California will see 17 new electric vehicle charging stations outside eight Los Angeles-area stores in collaboration with Volta Industries, a leading network of free charging stations in the U.S. The new stations will add to the 33 EV charging stations already outside Southern California stores for customer use.