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Sustainability Commitment Update: Canadian Tire Corporation


One Year Update


As a national retailer with more than 1,000 stores of various types across the country, Canadian Tire faces a number of challenges in avoiding energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. By making sustainability a core element of its overall business strategy and operations, Canadian Tire has met these challenges head-on and made significant progress in 2010.

Given Canadian Tire’s many touch points, including an extensive transportation network and supply chain and 482 Canadian Tire Retail stores, a comprehensive sustainability strategy that responds to the diverse functions across the business is key to generating strong results in environmental performance. To address the widespread nature of its business, Canadian Tire’s sustainability measures are reported in relation to three key segments of the business operations: products and packaging, product transportation, and buildings and operations.


Going beyond a standalone “green” initiative, Canadian Tire is setting the standard for business sustainability, driving profitability for the company through its business sustainability innovation strategy and related initiatives. Our three aspirational goals are to:

1.       Profitably grow the business without increasing the net carbon footprint of the economy

2.       Eliminate unnecessary packaging while sending zero waste to landfills

3.       Provide innovative products and services that meets customers’ needs without compromising the needs of future generations

Canadian Tire looked at each area of the business and considered what changes and enhancements could be made to decrease the environmental impact.

Buildings and Operations
Canadian Tire set out to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs of stores by using the most energy efficient lighting, heating, cooling and water technologies. These solutions reduce energy usage and the associated greenhouse gas emissions and costs. That benefits the bottom line, the environment, and hopefully inspires customers to seek similar solutions for their everyday household energy needs.

Products and Packaging
It’s not unusual to see products on shelves that are wrapped in packaging more than twice the size of the product itself, and for that reason Canadian Tire sees product rightsizing as one of the most effective ways to reduce our emissions related to packaging. This ensures that products are not over-packaged for the size and fragility of the product in question. Canadian Tire has been working to rightsize products, which not only reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, but with smaller packages fitting more efficiently in shipping containers and trucks, the GHG emitted to get the product to the store and on the shelves is reduced as well.

Product Transportation
Product must get to store shelves, and the transportation of product, whether by ocean, rail, or truck, contributes to our total carbon footprint. Canadian Tire continues to develop new solutions to decrease the energy use and GHG emissions associated with moving products to our stores.


Initiated in 2008, Canadian Tire’s sustainability strategy is starting to take off, and the promising results in 2010 bode well for future initiatives of the company.

Here are the highlights from January – September, 2010:

  • Canadian Tire is among the first major Canadian companies to report quarterly on its sustainability efforts, reflecting the integration of sustainability into its daily operations and aligning environmental and profit performances.
  • Canadian Tire completed 232 sustainability initiatives in the first nine months of the year. These are forecasted to deliver $4.6 million in annual avoided costs and prevent 5,200 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year – the equivalent of powering 678 Canadian homes for a year. And, packaging and handling changes to 128 retail products will help us avoid more than 494 tonnes of product and packaging waste annually
  • By the end of 2011, Canadian Tire will have designed, built, and opened the first of its next-generation stores that will be 75 per cent more energy efficient than those built in 2010[1]. Some of the ways we’re achieving this reduction include: LED lighting in parking lots; hydronic heating combined with high efficiency condensing boilers; Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) for retail floor and service centre; improved ventilation effectiveness by optimizing system efficiency; adjusted temperature set points; and enhanced thermal efficiency through thermal imaging.
  • Canadian Tire operates two low carbon energy generation installations that include solar PV and geothermal technologies. Since the start of operation in 2008, these installations have generated a total of 76,869 kWh, which helped to avoid 18 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the local economy.
  • Thirty five Canadian Tire Retail stores were retrofitted with a computer-based Central Energy Management (CEM) technology by the third quarter of 2010. This initiative, ongoing for the past few years will bring the total number of stores with CEM up to approximately  200 by the end of 2011. The CEM system automates and controls the energy needs of the stores, including building temperatures, thermal comfort, and lighting adjustments, based on the schedule of the store. It provides regular, on-going data about the store’s energy consumption, and alerts managers to problems or inefficiencies in the mechanical systems. The estimated annual avoided energy cost is approximately $3.4 million for 200 stores. The energy saved in the new centrally managed stores will also reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 7629 metric tonnes (eCO2), and is equivalent to removing 1149 cars from the road.

The work Canadian Tire completed throughout 2010 is an important step in an ongoing journey. As the scope of activities expand and the sustainability of business operations is improved, it is anticipated that we’ll see exponential improvements in avoided costs and emission reductions in the years to come. Doing good for the environment is good for business – that’s the bottom line.

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[1] This will reduce a new store’s energy use from the current 191.8 ekwh/m2 to 109.3 ekwh/m2.