By Lori Stewart
At LoyaltyOne – the customer loyalty specialists behind Air Miles, Dotz, and other popular customer loyalty programs – efficiency is the name of the game. And as they’ve come to learn through their in-house pilot programs, corporate culture, and environmental initiatives, sustainability is the key to attaining it. One of OSEA’s newest members, LoyaltyOne is paving the way, by corporate and individual example, to a more sustainable and environmentally aware Ontario.
“The culture of sustainability is something we live and breathe, here,” says Jeremiah Brenner, Manager of Corporate Responsibility at LoyaltyOne. “Sustainable initiatives really began as a grassroots movement in 2006 by a group of associates called LEAF – Living Environmentally Aware Forum.”
Starting with basic changes, like using glass cups instead of styrofoam and ridding the workplace of plastic bottles, LEAF and their initiatives came to the attention of CEO Brian Pearson, who formally committed the company to sustainability. He created the position of Chief Sustainability Officer and built a sustainable ethos into the DNA of the company.
Sustainably powering customer care
Only a few years later, in 2010, LoyaltyOne built their Customer Care Centre in Mississauga, working with RESCo Energy under a SolarCity Partnership to install one of the largest solar rooftop arrays in Canada. Housing 800 solar panels and 300 LoyaltyOne associates, the double LEED Gold building supplies the energy grid with enough solar energy to power 16 average-sized homes.
Installed under the Feed-in Tariff 1.0 program with a total cost of $1.85 million, the array generates 168,516 kWh and an annual revenue of $121,523 at 71.3 cents per kilowatt-hour. With this revenue, the system will achieve simple payback in 15.2 years. See the final report(PDF) for more technical details.
The building’s interiors are as unique as its exteriors. With 52 Solatubes that run from the ceiling to bring natural light inside, EnergyStar appliances, energy efficient desktop computers that use less energy than a light bulb, among other more obvious sustainable initiatives, this building is outfitted to the most efficient standards.
Not least of all these features, however, is the communal lunch and game room wall of interactive, exposed solar inverters. When knocked on, the wall displays to associates and guests how much solar energy is being produced at that moment, and an interactive computer kiosk shows up to the second, minute, hour, daily, weekly, or yearly solar energy generation.
LoyaltyOne will be participating in OSEA’s Green Energy Doors Open, so you can see these state-of-the-art facilities for yourself.
Educating from the ground up
The impetus to reduce environmental impact at LoyaltyOne stems not only from a fiscally efficient point of view, but also from a belief in sustainability as a way of life. LoyaltyOne educates and advocates amongst their associates, nurturing a culture of experimentation and innovation. As Brenner explains: “One of the main goals of corporate responsibility is to encourage our associates to live more sustainable lives both at work and at home.”
Encouraging associates to work from home instead of spending time and energy commuting, offering corporate bike sharing memberships to associates and showers to make those biking efforts more pleasant, and even providing biodegradable and gluten-free soap and shampoo in their facilities, LoyaltyOne lives and breathes sustainability.
Lunch and learns riddle the weekly schedule, movie days on documentaries like Chasing Icebring droves of associates to the screening room, and training seminars all create a ripple effect that begins at the individual level, cascading outwards from LoyaltyOne associates themselves to their colleagues, friends, and communities.
A sustainable momentum
LoyaltyOne is a strong, inspiring corporate example of the power of sustainability when it is brought into daily culture. Forward-looking with an annual audit to improve efficiency in its offices, LoyaltyOne continues to push the envelope forward with sustainable and energy efficient initiatives. We at OSEA are proud to include LoyaltyOne in our membership and look forward to seeing its in-house initiatives become widespread realities.