For the last three years Lands' End received the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council's Green Masters Award. The Green Masters Program is an objective, points-based recognition program that enables Wisconsin businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to understand what needs to be done to justifiably claim that they are "on the road to sustainability." Developed by the WI Sustainable Business Council and Wisconsin businesses - in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin - the Green Masters Program helps to recognize Wisconsin's sustainability leaders and encourages continuous improvement.
Apparel Sustainability Award
In June, 2011 Lands' End was among five companies, including North Face, to receive "All-Star" recognition by Apparel magazine. Winners were chosen for demonstrating a commitment toward making their businesses more sustainable in specific ways, and a plan to continue down that path.
Energy Star Recognition
There are currently five Lands' End buildings that have been designated "ENERGY STAR" facilities by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These facilities meet strict standards and use less energy, are less expensive and cause fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
To qualify for ENERGY STAR, a building or manufacturing plant must score in the top 25 percent based on EPA's National Energy Performance Rating System. To determine the performance of a facility, the EPA compares energy use among other, similar types of facilities on a scale of 1-100. Buildings that achieve a score of 75 or higher may be eligible for the ENERGY STAR. The EPA rating system accounts for differences in operating conditions, regional weather and other important considerations.
Lands' End will continue to work toward achieving this coveted rating for all facilities in the US. The Lands' End buildings currently certified include:
- Lands' End Corporate Office
- Lands' End Outfitters Office
- Embroidery and Warehouse facility
- Lands' End Dodgeville Distribution Center
- Lands' End Stevens Point Call Center, Embroidery, and Warehouse facility
- Lands' End Reedsburg Call Center
Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method
In 2009, an addition to the Lands' End United Kingdom warehouse became BREEAM certified (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method).
Lands' End sets eco-friendly example
As Iowa County's largest employer, Lands' End is providing a model to its approximately 5,000 employees and for the community at large by engaging in a wide range of environmentally focused business practices. Among other programs, the company has reduced catalog paper waste, decreased cardboard consumption, and reduced power consumption with a variety of solutions.
"In the past few years, there are over 100 projects we've done here at Lands' End that fall under the sustainability umbrella," said Randy Peterson, vice president of engineering, corporate services and sustainability. "These efforts have meant over $2 million in savings to the company. We're doing the right things with these efforts -- reducing energy use and also saving the company money," he added.
Lands' End is a member of the Wisconsin Council of Sustainability, which recognizes the top 20% of Wisconsin businesses for their sustainability efforts. Lands' End is proud to have been ranked in this group and received the Green Masters Award for two years, and for being named the state's top sustainable company last year.
"Our organization was recognized for having a broad program of social responsibility, which shows we are not focused on only one area of sustainability," Peterson said.
The company has long engaged in a broad range of recycling and waste management initiatives at the corporate office in Dodgeville. They address disposal of paper products, aluminum cans, glass and plastic, as well as printing operations, maintenance operations, disposal of non-recyclables and water management. These efforts are consistently monitored for improvements. Some of these efforts include recycling nearly 200 tons of paper and 4,000 tons of corrugated cardboard each year, saving water by installing motion sensor faucets, and making sure that about 3.5 tons of unusable electronic equipment is refurbished or recycled. For the past 13 years, Lands End has used 30% post consumer waste copy paper at the corporate office.
Purchasing recycled products is a significant component of the large recycling picture. Lands' End maintains an assertive program to buy paper products made from recycled materials, such as cardboard, file folders, paper towels, toilet paper, and brown manila envelopes. Other materials purchased with recycled content include things like recharged laser printer cartridges, trash cans, pencils, and letter holder trays,
"Our founder Gary Comer was always very concerned about the environment," Peterson said. "When he retired he spent a lot of time, energy and money studying climate change. He wanted to have the company be good stewards of the earth, so recycling programs have been in place for our employees for years."
"Employees can bring in batteries, cell phones, and on designated days, appliances for recycling. We are always trying to open up more recycling opportunities for employees.""
"In 2009, we placed a stronger emphasis on our sustainability efforts, when we identified sustainability as one of seven main company initiatives," Peterson explained. "Over time, we've developed this green initiative with goals and objectives.""
"First, we wanted to get a measure of our impact on the environment as an organization," he said. "We needed to get some sense of our total carbon footprint, to explore deeper into the details -- how much carbon do we emit in delivering our products to our customers, in getting it from our suppliers, and here in our buildings with energy use.""
"We were trying to determine, what is our carbon footprint, and let's create measurable goals to reduce it,'" he added.
Since then, Lands' End has established a corporate-wide Go Green Committee made of a cross functional group of 20 professionals throughout the organization. The members, who meet monthly, are passionate about the environment. The sustainable initiative was organized into three major areas of effort - people, process, and product. The people category includes employees, vendors, customers and the area community. Lands' End has an active Earth Day program, which is open to community members. Area venders come into the Comer Center to share knowledge at an Environmental Wellness Fair. They talk about organic farming, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, lighting opportunities, waste management, building construction, and other sustainable topics. Three times during the summer, a Farmers Market is held on the Dodgeville campus. Local farmers bring their organic products to display and sell. The event is open to employees as well as the local community.
"We have our own garden set up on each of our Wisconsin campuses for employees and their families to use," Peterson said. "The garden involves about an acre that is divided into plots for individuals and departments. A lot of the organic tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and other fresh produce is donated to the local Food Pantries." "In the future we'll be looking at how to take food scraps from the cafeteria and use those in the garden," said Peterson, who is currently researching how to grow organic apples.
Lands' End sends inter-company emails every Thursday to discuss sustainability topics. The activity informs employees of green activities and provides eco-friendly tips. Last week the tip dealt with cutting waste from the Thanksgiving meal and ways that any waste could go to the compost pile instead of into the garbage. "The tips are very helpful and educational," commented Michele Casper, public relations director. "They're ideas that not only Randy and the team are using here to make Lands' End more sustainable, they're tips that we as employees can take home to our families and apply in our own personal lives to be more sustainable." As part of the Earth Day activities, employees volunteer to clean up local recreation areas, including Governor Dodge State Park and Dodgeville city parks. This year they took on a rather large project by joining the "Take a Stake in the Lakes" event in Madison.
"We bused 125 employee volunteers and worked eight hours cleaning up along the river banks and lakeshore at Olin Park," Peterson said. "I was amazed. Here in Dodgeville the parks are so beautiful, we're out there picking up things like leaves along the fence line. The parks are just pristine. But in Madison we were pulling stuff like mattresses out of the lake. It was shocking."
The Lands' End team is involved with the Clean Lakes Alliance, which sponsored the lake clean-up and has the mission to reduce phosphorous levels in the Yahara Watershed. The company also is the lead sponsor of the Clean Lakes Festival in August, a fundraiser with those same goals.
Lands' End also has a ride share program for employees who are interested in carpooling. This program helps decrease individual travel, fuel use, and associated pollution.
Bicycles are offered outside of Lands End buildings, encouraging workers to pedal from one building to another instead of driving a car. Preferred parking is available to people who car pool. It may be expanded to reward drivers of eco-friendly vehicles, as well.
The process segment of the initiative focuses on things that can be measured, such as the energy usage in facilities.
"We were able to reduce the electrical usage in our warehouses by one-third, just by replacing the high density mercury vapor type lights with efficient fluorescents," Peterson said. "We've done that throughout our buildings here in Dodgeville, in Reedsburg, and Stevens Point."
As a Sears Holdings company, Lands' End collaborates with its parent company on some sustainable programs. Sears has 150 buildings that are EPA Energy Star ranked, and four of the buildings are at Lands' End in Dodgeville.
"The replacement of our parking lot lighting this year was an opportunity to put in the latest LED technology lighting," he added. "The architectural lighting done 25 years ago had big bulbs with most of the light going up into the sky. These are nearly 40% more efficient for lighting our parking lot."
Landscaping on the campus has been greatly reduced. In many areas, previously manicured lawns have given way to no-mow grass or prairie plantings. The no-mow grass grows taller and is available for harvesting by local farmers.
A test area outside the Comer Center is fitted with solar heating panels. The possibility of providing the campus, including the swimming pool, with solar hot water is being considered.
Lands' End has implemented a multi-year initiative to reduce paper consumption, and many efforts contribute to this goal. Some of them may seem small - like changing printer default settings to turn off cover sheets and to print multiple pages on both sides of the paper-but when done on a large scale they save a significant amount of paper.
"One change we made was reducing the number of catalogs put into boxes that are shipped from the automated packaging line," Peterson said. "We had been putting a catalog into each order that went out and one day an employee realized that a lot of them were probably re-orders. We came up with a software system to identify which ones were reorders or back orders."
"That cut our catalogs down by one-third. We saved over $300,000 a year in catalog costs - not to mention all the paper, carbon and environmental impact associated with it," he continued. "That idea came from someone thinking, 'Let's just reduce. Maybe we don't need all this.' We're not only reducing carbon but also the cost to the company. It benefits the triple bottom line - the environment, the company, and the individual."
Some other energy saving efforts have been getting network software that shuts down idle work station computers at night and on weekends, unplugging unused appliances, posting "Save Energy" signs to encourage turning off lights, and featuring some work stations that are totally paperless. In focusing on the product category of the initiative, Lands' End's preference is to work with suppliers that practice sustainable forestry. The company continues to work within the supply chain to promote certification of forests and the use of chain-of-custody certification to track the certified fiber.
"This is of great interest for the future," Peterson said. "We've hired consultants and are talking with vendors to gain an understanding of the total supply chain and vendor base, asking whether one fabric is more earth friendly than another."
"We're just in the discovery stage of doing that, but there may be a time in the future when each piece of clothing is labeled with an eco-index," he said. "The whole industry is working on this. Hopefully we can learn from each other."
Apparel Salutes Its 2011 Sustainability All-Star Award Winners
Excerpt taken from full article
The global multi-channel retailer Lands' End has a long history of involvement with environmental causes because its founder, Gary Comer, who became a prominent environmental activist after his retirement, always wanted the company to share his values and commitment. When the current president, Nick Coe, joined the company in 2009, he formalized its program by explicitly setting out goals and principles, naming an SVP-level sustainability champion and appointing a company-wide GoGreen team to develop and oversee projects.
Lands' End's sustainability statement, organized around the categories of "people, process, and product," commits the company to improve resource use and waste elimination, minimize its carbon footprint, encourage vendors and customers to embrace sustainable practices, and offer sustainable products. Over the past several years, the company has taken important steps toward all these goals.
Four key campus buildings have now obtained EPA Energy Star recognition, and a new distribution facility in the U.K. has achieved the highest level of BREEAM certification, analogous to LEED in the U.S. A "sustainable building showcase" is in the works, which will implement alternative energy at one of the company's key facilities.
Waste management initiatives have been underway for more than two decades. Two well-established practices are including recycled content in all shipping boxes and recycling 100 percent of corrugate. But there's still more to do: a new project focuses on how to collect, recycle and reuse customers' used and discarded clothing, perhaps for home insulation.
Reducing greenhouse gases is a newer initiative; Lands' End has participated in the independently run Carbon Disclosure Project since 2009 and has already reduced its carbon emissions by more than 15 percent from 2008 levels. Last year, working with a group of graduate students at the University of Wisconsin, the committee achieved the goal of identifying the company's total carbon footprint, an exercise that vice president for sustainability Randy Peterson calls "rather daunting." Now that a baseline exists, the committee is simultaneously working to refine the measurement process and identify opportunities to make improvements.
The results of the carbon-footprint exercise were somewhat surprising. Peterson says, "We were always thinking that transportation was a big part of the overall footprint, but it came out to less than 2 percent of the total. Production of catalogs turned out to be a bigger part."
To reduce catalog mailings, Lands' End is now using more email marketing. It also produces smaller, more targeted catalogs and segments its mailing lists so that customers receive more personalized mailings. Customers are given convenient options for limiting the catalogs they receive. And, following a warehouse employee's suggestion, the company has stopped sending a catalog with every box it ships. Now, it includes a catalog only if the customer has not previously received it. Eliminating duplicate catalog mailings has saved $300,000 per year, aside from cutting down on unnecessary resource use.
Because so much of the sustainability program's impact depends on the company's employees, Lands' End has taken a road show to more than 400 employees to share sustainability successes with them and sends all employees a weekly "cup of green tea" email about sustainability issues. As a result, employees are now "fully engaged with the process," Peterson says, and are providing valuable feedback to the committee.
The company is also seeking to reduce the amount of commuting that employees must do - a quality-of-life issue as well as an environmental issue. The call center employs a large number of home-based customer service reps - at first just for peak-time overflow, but now including full-timers as well. Even non-call-center personnel now have more opportunities to develop alternative work schedules and work from home when it makes sense. "A large percentage of our employee population commute from about 40 miles away, which, with the bad weather in Wisconsin, can be hair-raising," Peterson says. The company also works with other employers and local officials to encourage ride-sharing.
Lands' End's most important current project involves working with vendors to make their manufacturing processes more ecologically sound - for example, by using more eco-friendly dyes. The company is developing a vendor scorecard, which will be vetted by an independent organization; it hopes to have the scorecard ready for use this fall or early next year. To get the most bang for the buck, it will start with the larger vendors first, discussing their sustainability practices during regular site visits.
Product sustainability is another critical issue that Lands' End has addressed over a number of years. Its goal today is to incorporate sustainability into the entire product line rather than offering a niche "eco-friendly" line. Peterson explains, "We're looking at how we can incorporate more recycled materials into products, and at how we cannot just sell 'towels with organic cotton' but raise the level of organic materials in all our cotton products."
"The journey continues," Peterson says. "We feel that we're fully engaged, but we know we still have a road ahead of us."