With more than 7,000 stores and one of the largest trucking fleets in the world, the magnitude of our direct footprint means that our environmental efforts must begin with our own operations. By making changes within, we not only have an opportunity to minimize our environmental footprint and save money for our business, but to lead by example. In addition, we realize that we can influence our indirect footprint and therefore have a positive impact on our supply chain. This impact is important because the vast majority of our footprint comes from these indirect sources.
Therefore, we are examining everything from the efficiency of our trucks, to the waste we generate in our stores, to the way we heat and cool our buildings, and looking for ways that we can both lessen the impact of our environmental footprint and maintain a robust business growth strategy. In many instances, we have been surprised by what we have been able to accomplish. These accomplishments have enabled us to continue challenging ourselves to find new and innovative ways to minimize our environmental impact and expand the initiatives we have already undertaken.
Developing New Technologies to Decrease Our Footprint
When we collaborate with our suppliers to develop new products or technologies, we have the power to significantly change existing markets and even create new markets for these breakthroughs.
Perhaps no story better illustrates our capacity to create new markets for sustainable products and technologies than our work on light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LED technology has existed for many years. However, over the last three years, we partnered with General Electric to develop a LED lighting system for our refrigerated and frozen cases. LEDs can have a significant, positive impact on our environment. They last much longer, produce less heat, contain no mercury and use substantially less energy than other types of light.
In November 2006, we announced that we will retrofit refrigerator cases in more than 500 of our stores with the new system which is expected to save us about $2.6 million per year and reduce our CO2 emissions by 35 million pounds per year. We expect installation to be complete in these stores by early 2008, and then we will begin retrofitting even more.
In February 2007, we began installing motion sensor-activated LED case lighting in all new Wal-Mart stores and Supercenters. Between January and July of 2007, our LED installations in refrigerated cases have saved approximately 66 percent of the energy used for lighting in those stores where they have been installed.
In the logistics arena, we installed Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) – small, efficient diesel engines – on all our trucks that make overnight trips in May 2006. Our drivers can turn off their truck engines and rely on the APUs to warm or cool the cabin and run communication systems while on breaks. In a single year, this change should eliminate approximately 100,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, reduce our consumption of 10 million gallons of diesel fuel and save the company an estimated $25 million per year.