OUR COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT IS AN ONGOING PRIORITY FOR LANDS' END
One of the reasons why I joined Lands' End in February of 2015 is that this Company is known for its high quality apparel and customer service but has also been committed to the environment for over 50 years! The company's founder, Gary Comer, was an active environmentalist who started Lands' End as a sailing outfitter. As the company grew, he wanted his employees to be, of course, leaders in catalog retailing but he also wanted them to do more. He wanted them to become good stewards of the earth.
As CEO of Lands' End with the vision to become a meaningful global lifestyle brand, I am keenly aware that how we do business every day greatly impacts our planet. So at Lands’ End, we take sustainability very seriously. I named our sustainability initiatives “Lands' Friendly.” We are constantly looking for ways to reduce our paper, water, and power usage – while at the same time researching how we can make our products in a more sustainable manner.
We are not perfect, but we are always making steps to be better – this is a constant journey. As a business leader, I’ve always embraced change. I believe that with change comes the opportunity for growth. My hope is that Lands’ End can continue to be Lands’ Friendly in order to leave the Earth a better place for future generations
When Gary Comer founded Lands’ End in 1963‚ his interest in sustainability was evident from the beginning. He insisted on selling only quality items that were durable‚ built to last. “Make it as good as you can‚” he said‚ knowing that if it’s made well in the first place‚ it will serve for seasons to come. And later‚ to certify his belief‚ he added‚ “Guarantee it. Period.”
He moved his company from Chicago to Dodgeville for a reason. He liked the rural work ethic‚ and the promise of a bigger corporate campus would give him the chance to pursue a new goal: helping employees and their families lead healthier lives. “Take care of the customer‚ take care of the employee‚ the rest will take care of itself‚” was the way he always put it.
In his personal life he was a sailor. He sailed around the globe‚ always curious to know what was beyond the horizon‚ fascinated by the sea. In 2001 he sailed the Northwest Passage on his yacht Turmoil; he returned with a deep and abiding interest in abrupt climate change as a result of what he saw. He donated money to study the issue and according to the Comer Family Foundation‚ at one point he was providing more money for climate change research than the U.S. government.
Gary’s interest in the future of our planet and his directive that we do business in a sustainable manner has guided us to this day.
Earth Day is observed nationwide on April 22. At Lands’ End, Earth Day is celebrated throughout the entire week – so it’s really Earth Week here.
During the week, we’ve hosted a number of activities ranging from an Environmental Wellness Fair featuring green vendors to a company-wide Earth Trek walk/run to sponsoring classes on how to plant a tree. We also observe Earth Day by distributing 1,500 trees to employees for them to plant anywhere they choose.
But truth be told, we want to live as if it’s Earth Day all the time. To make that happen, we try to live Lands’ Friendly at work and at home each and every day.
Our corporate campus is more than buildings, parking lots and lawns!
Our employees began growing organic vegetable gardens on the Lands’ End corporate campus in 2009. The sustainable project grew steadily and more than 160 gardeners have participated, using up to 50 available plots. Tomatoes are the most popular plants, but there’s a wide variety of vegetables, native wildflowers and fruit patches such as strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb.
Employees and their families also can tend the company’s "Share Garden," where produce is grown for local food pantries. The community garden generates about 175 pounds of fresh produce in annual donations each year. The gardening season runs from May to October, or about 215 days.
Lands’ End provides supplies to get started – from spades, rakes and hand tools to kneeling pads, wheelbarrows and watering cans – and our employees take it from there. Cafeteria chefs use an herb garden to make their own seasonings and raised flower beds were added so employees can cut flowers for the office or home. Of course, it’s not always about the work of gardening. Employees can visit the garden simply for fresh air, to get gardening tips or to spot the many hummingbirds, butterflies, frogs and toads.
We have fruit trees, too! Lands’ End added an orchard on its Dodgeville campus in 2012. It has grown to host more than 50 apple, pear and cherry trees, along with 1,000 pumpkin plants. When trees in the orchard produce fruit suitable for picking, employees can take what they want, although truth be told, deer take their share of the apples.
Lands' End makes sure no food goes to waste. Whether it will be offering fruit as a healthy snack to employees or guests or donating it to local food banks, the harvest from the Lands' End Orchard is used every season.
Lands' End also gathers materials for a campus compost pile. Fruit that is unsuitable for eating from the orchard joins food scraps and coffee grounds collected from campus cafeterias. Mixed with leaves, grass, and other compostable materials, the compost pile creates rich soil that’s used in Lands' End flowerbeds, the community garden, and other campus projects. Excess compost is made available for employees to use at their homes.
Lands’ End has sustainability on its mind when our employees travel.
As more employees purchase vehicles with improved fuel economy, Lands' End rewards them with priority parking on its Dodgeville corporate campus. If the vehicle is rated at or above 40 miles per gallon on the highway, employees can park in a designated spot that’s closer to the building entrance. Employees who carpool also have reserved spots near the entrance. A perk that is worth it, particularly during winter months in Wisconsin.
After Lands' End employees inquired about charging electric vehicles, the company installed five charging stations on its Dodgeville campus. Two units are equipped with 220-volt circuits and three have 110-volt circuits. It takes about four hours to get a full charge at the 220-volt charging station.
Lands' End is proud to offer its employees 30+ bikes to travel between buildings on the Dodgeville campus. The bike program encourages employees not to use cars, thereby reducing gasoline consumption and related pollution.
The Wisconsin Adopt-A-Highway program was initiated to allow employees in Wisconsin to volunteer and support the state's anti-litter program. Twice a year, about 15 employees from the Stevens Point campus don yellow or orange neon vests to clean a two-mile stretch of Wisconsin Highway 66. The Lands’ End program serves as a model for other companies in Wisconsin looking to train their employees to adopt a highway.
Lands’ End is committed to proactive power, facility and carbon management to help conserve energy resources.
Lands' End is among a number of leading businesses dedicated to making the case for better internal carbon management, ultimately leading to a more sustainable society. An energy team meets regularly to review and identify energy savings opportunities throughout the year.
The company works with lighting contractors to evaluate and propose lighting upgrades in office and production environments for better energy efficiency. When replacing equipment, cost-effective energy solutions are chosen.
Lands’ End is working hard to make the company a "zero landfill" company.
Lands' End reuses, recycles or composts between 88 and 90 percent of generated waste from the corporate headquarters, keeping it out of landfills. The goal is to reduce waste completely and make Lands' End a "zero landfill" company. The company is dedicated to reaching this goal and will continue to look for ways to compost food scraps, further reduce paper use and refurbish or reuse items for company operations. One item that remains a challenge – logos. The type of lightweight backing paper required to keep a logo in place can't be recycled yet. But we're working on it!
Lands' End has a broad range of recycling and waste management initiatives to address paper products, aluminum cans, glass and plastic, as well as printing operations, maintenance operations, disposal of non-recyclables and water management. Efforts are consistently monitored in each of these areas, and the company is constantly looking for areas for improvement.
We've had a recycling program since 1992. A year later, we conducted an environmental survey to conduct a full assessment of our recycling capabilities and the recycling program really took off from there!
Here are the company’s most currently available annual recycling numbers:
Lands' End continues to maintain an assertive program to buy non-catalog paper products made from recycled materials. Other materials purchased with recycled content include re-charged laser printer cartridges, file folders, paper towels, toilet paper, trash cans, pencils, letter holder trays and brown manila envelopes.
From refurbishing furniture to reconditioning carpet to donating used computers, Lands' End make a conscious effort to salvage in-house resources.
Our waste reduction efforts include utilizing copy output management software to enforce printing rules such as using black/white printing only for emails and replacing aging hardware with more energy-efficient models. Used equipment is donated to organizations or sold to employees.
One of the company's biggest projects in recent years was to remodel the company call center in Dodgeville. The center is responsible for handling customer orders, comments and questions. During the 2012 remodel, reducing waste was a key goal. To achieve this, Lands' End: