Stronger Communities

Pillar 4:
Respect for the


Our responsibility to address environmental impacts and tackle global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation translates into our actions and aspirations for the future. With stores in northern Canada, Alaska, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands, our retail operations and rural communities are susceptible and exposed to extreme climatic events (e.g., prolonged heatwaves, heavy rainfall, blizzards, extreme cold events, hurricanes typhoons, cyclones, etc.), which are becoming more intense and frequent. We recognize that climate change will have a significant impact in these remote locations, and that it is fundamental that we incentivize positive actions to ensure a resilient future for the communities where we operate. Our commitment to the environment translates into actions that seek to reduce our environmental impacts, considering topics such as climate change, energy efficiency, promotion of renewable energy, and awareness in food/plastic waste. Moreover, as climate change has the potential to impact current business practices, we are gaining a better understanding of our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and working with experts to calculate our current GHG emissions baseline. We are also establishing a control framework and assurance strategies to support our reporting processes.

Commitments, Goals, and Actions

Commitment: Support climate action by increasing energy efficiency and supporting renewable energy initiatives.

Goals Action Taken In 2022
4.1 Promote and implement energy saving initiatives in stores and warehouses
  • Lowered net energy costs by more than $2.8 million (9,1 GWh) – the result of installing LED lamps, energy-efficient refrigeration equipment (e.g., anti-freezer doors) and other energy-saving devices in our stores. These measures are part of an ongoing suite of energy conservation policies, programs and actions implemented in northern locations using proven processes and technologies. The target for 2023 is to achieve an additional 3% energy savings reduction compared to 2022.
  • Approval of Manitoba’s “Building Envelope Program” for an estimated incentive amount of almost $260,000 for an upgrade of insulation levels to our warehouse infrastructure. This incentive will support the reduction of our energy consumption and GHG emissions related to heating and cooling in our warehouse infrastructure.

Commitments, Goals, and Actions

Commitment: Implement actions to increase resource efficiency and reduce waste.

Goals Action Taken In 2022
4.2 Develop renewable energy partnerships in focus regions
  • Saved an estimated 166,500 kWh through an expanded partnership with Gwich’in Tribal Council for a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel equipment installation in our NorthMart store in Inuvik, NT, resulting in annual savings of almost $97,000.
  • Saved an estimated 223,600 kWh with rooftop solar PV system in our Cost.U.Less store in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., resulting in annual savings of more than $106,000.
  • Saved an estimated 150,000 kWh with rooftop solar PV system in our Grand Cayman stores, resulting in annual savings of more than $51,000.
  • Overall, we saved a total 540,100 kWh and more than $253,000 in 2022.
4.3 Provide ongoing environmental management and training
  • Coordinated policies and programs via our Environment Management Committee, including enhanced environmental training for associates in our operating communities (e.g., spill management, fuel handling and water quality sampling).
4.4 Offer environmentally preferable solutions to single-use plastic bags
  • Worked with partners in 44 communities to reduce the use of plastic bags via our Greener Tomorrow program. Since 2011, proceeds from the program have resulted in more than $3.3 million in reinvestments to Greener Tomorrow communities. The Greener Tomorrow program prevented the purchasing of approximately 31 million plastic bags in stores.
4.5 Promote the reduction and management of waste in our operations
  • Implemented procedures to eliminate food waste in the retail supply chain by improving food storage, shipping materials and technologies. We invested $25,000 in purchasing insulated pallet wrap to keep chilled product from freezing in the winter, and avoid frozen product from thawing in the summer months.
  • Promoted the safe-to-eat food products that are safe to consume past the “Best Before Date.”.
  • Promoted the use of water vending machines in stores to reduce plastic bottle consumption and to provide an affordable source of clean drinking water for customers in remote communities. North West manages 63 water vending machines and 21 vending water machines are leased to stores.
  • Alaska Commercial ships all electronic waste (e.g., computers) for recycling, thus avoiding environmental pollution in local landfills.
  • North Star Airline has partnered with recycling initiatives to support efforts to properly recycle waste (e.g. plastic bottles) store in remote communities.