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Pillar 4Respect for the Environment

At A Glance

10.2 million kWh

in annual energy savings per year resulting from the installation of high-efficiency equipment and energy conservation measures in our stores. (Total store usage: 106.3 million kWh*).
*excludes non-store infrastructure


percent reduction in non-renewable energy costs by installing solar panels at our NorthMart store in Inuvik, NWT.

$2.8 million

re-invested in community well-being projects as a result of Greener Tomorrow plastic bag fees collected from northern communities.


percent of new construction projects that will meet or exceed National Building Code energy efficiency standards as a result of NWC’s newly-adopted environmental policy.

Respect for the Environment Overview


The North West Company retail stores operate in some of the most pristine and beautiful environments on Earth; we strive to do our part to keep them this way.

Our approach to protecting the environment is multifaceted, reflecting the complexity of the challenges that face us as a company that operates in remote regions serving diverse and often low-income communities.

Several key objectives lie at the heart of our environmental strategies, including improving the efficiency of our operations; developing a robust system of environmental policies ensuring that we comply with or exceed all relevant local and federal laws and mandates; cultivating relationships with innovative local suppliers who can assist us in our environmental goals; and training our employees to act in an environmentally responsible manner.   

Each of these objectives is informed by a deep commitment and respect for our planet, and for the people whose realities are shaped by the land around them. North West’s long term success is shaped by the environmental sustainability where we operate.

Read or Download full Sustainability Report >

Commitments, Goals, Performance, and Next Steps

COMMITMENT: Provide significant social benefit by soliciting opinions from and seeking opportunities to collaborate with community leaders, groups, and individuals.

2019/20 Goals Action Steps Metric

Promote energy initiatives in stores with cumulative 4 year investment of $3.8 million.

  1. Adopted a policy that 100 percent of new construction projects will meet or exceed National Building Code energy efficiency standards and specifications.

  2. Lowered annual net energy costs by $2.6 million (10.2 million kWh) and greenhouse gas emissions by 5587 tonnes

  3. the result of installing of LED lamps, energy efficient refrigeration equipment, 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. (Targeted reductions in 2020: $3.1 million; 11.3 million kWh or 6296 tonnes.)
  1. Green Buildings / Resource Reduction Policy
  2. Policy Energy Efficiency / Environmental Investments Initiatives

Cultivate partnerships that can provide alternative energy solutions for our operations, with a focus on regions where government support makes these interventions financially viable.

  1. Continued to partner with providers of alternative, clean energy sources, including Gwich’in Tribal Council for solar equipment installations in our NorthMart store in Inuvik, NWT; by replacing a non-renewable fuel source, we expect a 47 percent decrease in carbon energy costs compared to pre-installation levels. (Targeted reductions in 2020: 121,000 kWh or 90 tonnes.).

  1. Renewable Energy Use / Environmental Partnerships

Provide ongoing environmental management and training.

  1. Continued to set practices, policies, and programs to comply with local and federal legislation through our Environment Management Committee and systems.

  2. Continued to focus our Environmental training for associates on ensuring safe and responsible environmental practices in the communities where we operate.
  1. Environment Management Training
  2. Environment Management Training

Meet ROI investment requirements for our renewable energy program in NWC store locations.

  1. Added solar rooftop panels to our St. Thomas Cost-U-Less store. (Targeted reductions in 2020: 117,000 kWh or 83 tonnes.). 

  2. Continued to evaluate expansion opportunities for this technology in other company locations.

  1. Renewable Energy Use / Environmental Materials Sourcing / Environmental Expenditures Investments
  2. Renewable Energy Use

Offer environmentally preferable solutions to single-use plastic bags.

  1. Continued to encourage reusable bags by eliminating single-use plastic bags in 15 communities and working with 60 communities to significantly reduce the use of plastic bags with our "Greener Tomorrow" program; since 2011, the program has collected more than $2.8 million in fees, which have been reinvested in Greener Tomorrow communities.
  1. Environmental Innovation Score

Reduce waste throughout our operations and supply chain.

  1. Continued to look for ways to eliminate perishable food waste within store supply chains, including wrapping and shipping materials and technologies.
  2. Continue to operate 85 refillable container water-vending systems, which recycle water, reduce plastic bottle waste, and provide a cost-effective water source for customers.
  3. Minimize waste of safe-to-eat food products that are past their ‘best before” date through customer discounts and donations, recognizing the enormous waste created by unnecessarily discarding these items in favor of “fresher” products that must be shipped to remote areas by more costly air transportation.

  1. Environmental Innovation Score
  2. Environmental Innovation Score
  3. Waste Reduction Initiative