We distribute the majority of our products in the United States, and have been aggressively pursuing ways to reduce our carbon footprint by shifting from the most carbon-intensive modes of transport (air and trucking) to less intensive modes, such as rail and container ships. We also have made changes to our international shipping routes and partnered with transportation service providers that have set leading standards in sustainability and environmental protection. And we collaborate with various U.S. port authorities, state and federal regulators and industry coalitions to look for ways to reduce environmental impact.
For example, in the United States, we reduced greenhouse gas emissions in some of our shipping lanes by 50-60% in 2008 by reducing our fuel use. We did this by switching to intermodal transport (a mix of rail and truck) for U.S. domestic transportation. We’re now expanding the use of intermodal transport into other routes.
By adopting more efficient routes, in 2009 we were able to reduce our carbon emissions by more than 700 metric tons and save money while continuing to meet our delivery deadlines.
In addition to reducing the environmental impact of transporting our products, we have focused on reducing energy use at our large-scale distribution centers, which are responsible for 60% of our total energy consumption. We are overhauling the lighting and have begun maintenance programs to increase the efficiency of air-conditioning units. Findings from a water footprint analysis begun in 2008 have already cut water use at our distribution centers.
We re-examined our transportation network through the lens of sustainability and reduced total miles traveled, saved fuel, reduced greenhouse emissions and saved money. This reduces cost and our customers receive our product in a more timely manner.