Business Practices Nova Scotians are looking for businesses to meet today’s needs without compromising the future and make greater efforts to act in a corporately responsible manner. The NSLC recognizes that good business includes taking care of the environment and is committed to the goal of making Nova Scotia an even better place to live.
Greenhouse Gas Study Climate change is a serious challenge facing any organization doing business today. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from human development are widely recognized as a contributing factor to changes in the climate including warming temperatures, changes to precipitation patterns and intensities, increased frequency and magnitude of severe weather occurrences, rising sea levels and human health effects.
The NSLC recognizes the importance of knowing its carbon footprint and actively seeks methods to reduce its greenhouse (GHG) emissions. Since 2009, the NSLC has conducted a comprehensive annual assessment of its greenhouse gas inventory, also known as carbon footprint.
This report helps estimate and measure, manage and reduce the NSLC’s GHG emissions associated with normal business operations. The report includes the full impact of operations:
• direct GHG emissions: caused by the consumption of energy
• indirect emissions: caused by the production of the electricity the NSLC purchases
• other emissions: caused by transportation including trucking and shipping
The NSLC is taking a leadership position by reporting the results of its GHG inventory and has committed to on-going efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
To view the NSLC’s GHG inventory click here: CSR Report
Energy and Resource Management The NSLC is committed to reducing its energy use wherever possible. From lights to computers to ventilation, the NSLC carefully reviews energy use while exploring ways to reduce consumption. At its Head Office and Distribution Centre, the NSLC is switching to motion sensor lighting, daylight harvesting and a retrofit of overhead lights. These efforts have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16 tCO2e/year (a savings of approximately 518.4 kWh/day or $1,110/month on the NSLC’s energy bill).
The NSLC is upgrading the automation system, which controls heating, ventilation, air conditioning and overall temperature, at its head office and is investigating the use of occupancy sensors and LED lighting in the retail store network and head office.
LEED Initiative LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary rating system that evaluates environmental performance of a building over its lifecycle, providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a “green building.” During the 2008-09 fiscal year, the NSLC opened its first green store on Tacoma Drive in Dartmouth; it was built with LEED standards in mind. Compared to the more typical NSLC store it replaced, the Tacoma Drive store uses 40% less water, at least 15% less lighting power and 45% less overall power. The store also has designated recycling zones for cardboard, glass, aluminum and pallet storage and all major building components contain significant amounts of recycled content.
Tapping into Natural Gas The NSLC is committed to making business decisions based on the principles of sustainability. The use of natural gas in available areas provides an efficient, safe and cost-effective energy solution and is the cleanest of all fossil fuels. When burned, natural gas only gives off carbon dioxide and water, resulting in the production of about half the carbon dioxide given off by coal and two-thirds the amount given off by oil. In addition, as natural gas burns it does not emit sulfur pollutants or soot. The NSLC is proud to use natural gas in both of its Amherst stores and will consider usage of this energy source as it becomes available throughout Nova Scotia.
Bag Strategy In the fall of 2008, the NSLC eliminated plastic bags in its 106 retail stores. New multi-bottle, reusable bags are now available for sale and paper bags are used for purchases made at NSLC stores. This initiative has kept approximately 12 million bags a year (more than 290,000 pounds of plastic) out of provincial landfills. The NSLC is proud to have been the first mass market retailer in Nova Scotia to eliminate plastic bags and to lead the way among Canadian liquor jurisdictions. Since the NSLC’s announcement, several other beverage alcohol retailers in Canada have followed the NSLC’s lead.
Liquid Waste Management Through routine product handling, the NSLC incurs product breakage or damage resulting in liquid waste throughout the store network and at its Distribution Centre. The volume of this liquid waste presents the potential for significant environmental and business management issues. If the waste liquid is simply released into the environment, the residual alcohol does not biodegrade sufficiently to present no adverse impacts on the environment. The NSLC was committed to finding an innovative and environmentally friendly method of disposing its liquid waste.
In 2009, the NSLC hired Maritime BioFuels Inc. (MBI) to develop an environmentally acceptable method of disposing of the NSLC’s liquid waste. Data provided by the NSLC representing a 36-week period indicated that approximately 565,000 L of liquid waste with an estimated ethanol concentration of approximately 13.5% was being created annually.
MBI developed an innovative solution that reduces environmental impact, creates a product from the waste-resource material and provides potential for a cost-effective method to reduce potential greenhouse gas emissions. The product waste liquid from NSLC stores is now collected at each store, is processed through a distillation column to remove the ethanol and then is safely released into the environment through a treatment facility.
The removed ethanol is used to produce biodiesel from waste vegetable grease. This product is then used to displace furnace oil and transportation fuel and has potential for resale. The NSLC wants to follow a true reduce, recycle and reuse process in the future and aims to purchase the biofuels made by the processing of its liquid waste, potentially reducing related greenhouse gas emissions by 20%.
Solid Waste Management The NSLC has entered into a contract with Waste Management (WM) for the provision of solid waste management services. Over the term of the contract, the NSLC and WM will work together to develop an integrated solid waste management operations plan that outlines an approach and methods for achieving the NSLC’s waste management objectives.
The waste management objectives include:
• identifying areas for potential improvement including
• opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle or compost
• identify areas for immediate improvement and
• implement corrective measures
• identify specific opportunities to reduce the volume
• of waste disposed of in landfills
• evaluate all current waste management programs
During 2010, WM conducted a series of waste audits at the NSLC’s Head Office, Distribution Centre and at two retail stores, Clyde Street and Bayers Lake. These waste audits provided insight into current practices, estimated annual volumes and suggested actions for improvement. The NSLC will be implementing several of the action items from these audits, continuing efforts to reduce the total amount of waste being directed to Nova Scotia landfills.
Recycling Packaging The NSLC processes almost 18 million retail sales transactions of beverage alcohol in a year. In fiscal 2009/10 the NSLC sold almost 76.6 million aluminum cans, representing approximately 46% of all aluminum cans recycled in the province. Over 10 million glass/ PET liquor bottles were returned to Enviro Depots across the province for recycling during this same time period. Nova Scotia has one of the highest return rates for beverage containers in North America through the provincial beverage container recycling program. Customers pay a $.10 deposit on each beverage alcohol container purchased and collect a $.05 refund for each container returned to an Enviro-Depot. In the case of beverage alcohol containers larger than 500 ml, a $.20 deposit is paid and a $.10 refund is received.
Individual stores also recycle broken cases and excess containers through the Enviro-Depots and in the Halifax Regional Municipality, breweries pick up excess full bottles and recycle them. As a result, more than 77 million containers are diverted from provincial landfills each year. In addition, the NSLC recycles more than 4,800 kg of cardboard every month and an external company reuses all unneeded pallets.
The NSLC is proud to partner with the Brewer’s Association of Canada (BAC) to ensure high quality products as well as responsible action. In addition to a comprehensive bottle and packaging reuse program, which recaptures 97% of all beer bottles used by BAC in Canada, brewers also support energy and water use conservation, the disposal of spent grains and expired beer, and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.