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A Guide for Retailers: Engaging Employees in “Going Green”

Sales and sustainability go hand-in-hand at Kal Tire.

This guide presents ten proven ways to engage employees in your company’s environmental and social goals. It is designed for HR managers, trainers, and employees responsible for health, safety, and the environment.

Managers working in retail can use the guide’s case study on Canadian retailer, Kal Tire, to identify ways to encourage their employees to integrate environmental and social responsibility into day-to-day decision-making and operations.

Successes in Canadian Retail

Case Study: Kal Tire

Kal Tire built environmental and community stewardship into its culture since the company’s founding nearly 60 years ago. Headquartered in Vernon, British Columbia, the family-run company sells and services tires for retail, commercial, and mining customers.

Environmental and social responsibility has always been core to how the company operates. Nonetheless, there are specific ways Kal Tire fosters environmental and social responsibility among its employees.

Put it into writing

Following a voluntary environmental assessment in 2005, the company developed a formal corporate strategy dedicated to environmental and social responsibility. The strategy describes the company’s overarching commitments to CSR in statements such as: “We are committed to giving back locally by growing healthy and safe communities for families of our customers and team members.”

Kal Tire’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy also includes specific annual objectives for its core CSR areas: community, the environment, and team members. The specific environmental targets for 2012 to 2013 are:

  1. Mitigate impacts on climate change by reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint.

  2. Divert waste from landfill by increasing recycling rates.

  3. Be a leader in tire stewardship and retreading in order to minimize products’ environmental impacts.

Make it someone’s job

Kal Tire created a new role responsible for CSR strategy. “This is a first for Kal Tire,” said Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator Kevin McCarty. “Before creating a full-time CSR coordinator position, Kal Tire was doing a lot of important things for the environment and the community, but they didn’t have any one person dedicated to CSR. Creating a dedicated role is a sign of Kal Tire’s commitment to being a responsible citizen.”

Build Sustainability into Day-to-Day Operations

In addition to making facility improvements, such as replacing traditional lights with energy-efficient ones, Kal Tire has focused on extending the life of its products through tire retreading: buffing off the old tread and applying new tread. The retreading initiative extends tire life, which saves customers money and diverts used tires from landfills.

Kal Tire also plays a leadership role in provincial Tire Stewardship programs, ensuring scrap tires that cannot be retreaded are properly disposed of and recycled into new products when possible. “We don’t just sell a tire and never look back,” said McCarty. “We do a lot to capture that tire and add more value to it.”

About this Guide

This guide is based on research by our team and Dr. Stephanie Bertels, Associate Professor, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.


The following people contributed to this guide:

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