At Burlington, we understand that a successful business is one that manages its impacts and acts as a responsible steward of the environment. Today’s environmental challenges – from climate change to pollution to resource scarcity – mean that all companies should prioritize sustainability, and at Burlington, we are doing our part. Our programs ensure we address impacts inside and outside our walls, allowing us to grow in harmony within the communities where we operate.
As Burlington grows, we remain focused on reducing our carbon footprint and environmental impact through energy efficiency efforts in stores, distribution centers and corporate locations. In 2017, our total energy use was approximately 545,000 MWh – a 10% reduction per square foot from 2016. This was accomplished through implementing a variety of energy efficiency projects, from installing LED light fixtures, to real-time monitoring of store Energy Management Systems. These projects allow us to better manage our energy use while realizing financial savings.
Beyond energy efficiency efforts, renewable power is anticipated to soon play a role in Burlington’s carbon footprint reduction efforts. On our corporate campus, we are installing nearly 12,000 solar panels, intended to generate approximately 4,870 MWh of power annually for our Florence and Burlington corporate offices. Once operable, we expect the solar panels will offset our corporate headquarters’ energy consumption by over 50%.
As a retail company, our greenhouse gas emissions are primarily realized through the facilities we operate and merchandise freight transport. By increasing our energy efficiency and using a low-carbon transport for the bulk of our freight, we are actively engaged in efforts to manage our emissions.
We depend on our supply chain to ship millions of items every year by truck, intermodal rail, LTL, parcel and ocean. Our vendors throughout the U.S. ship merchandise to our distribution centers in New Jersey and Southern California where it is processed and shipped to stores. We are using transportation logistics to improve the greenhouse gas footprint of our freight shipments. Over the last few years, we have strategically transitioned the vast majority of our distribution center shipments from truck to intermodal rail. Continuing to execute on this strategy, we expect approximately three quarters of our long-haul volume will move by intermodal rail by July 2019. Moving freight by train is four times more fuel efficient than moving freight on the highway; trains can move one ton of freight over 470 miles on a single gallon of fuel. In total, we expect to save approximately 78,000 metric tons of CO2 with intermodal rail over the next year. By using a low-carbon transport for the bulk of our freight, we are becoming a more sustainable and efficient company.
We also have recently implemented a Transportation Management System that deploys route optimization technology to consolidate individual shipments into full truckloads, thereby reducing the number of trucks required and, in turn, our carbon footprint. Much of our carrier base participates in the EPA Smartway Partnership, which aims to improve fuel efficiency and reduce environmental impacts from freight transport.
In partnership with our vendors, Burlington is working to "floor load" full truckloads, rather than palletizing freight, where operationally feasible. This loading process maximizes the cubic capacity of the trailer, and takes trucks off the road. Burlington has also introduced another gate access lane at its San Bernardino distribution center to streamline traffic and minimize driver idling while in line to access the facility.
Waste and Recycling
We are conscious of the waste footprint our business operations create, and we work hard to manage and mitigate those impacts.
We maintain a framework that provides employees with tools for how to dispose of waste and maximize recycling. We created the framework to increase efficiencies, reduce the amount of trash that Burlington sends to landfills, and to ensure we comply with local and state regulations on recycling. As a result of our efforts in 2017, we were able to divert approximately 35,000 tons from landfills, and properly dispose of nearly 100 tons of hazardous waste.