Lowe’s Invests in Social Responsibility to Build a Better World
(3BL Media/Justmeans) â Companies with an extensive physical presence across communities nationwide and employing thousands of people are in a position to make a wide-ranging social and environmental impact. Some of the leading American companies recognize their potential and are willing to leverage their power and reach to help achieve the larger goals of sustainability.
With 1,840 home improvement stores and 265,000 employees, Loweâs is present in communities across the United States, Canada, Mexico and a few Asian countries. Loweâs has been making robust contributions to the communities in which it operates, investing in a variety of social, environmental and community development programs to build a better world. Robert A. Niblock, chairman, president and CEO of Loweâs, said that the companyâs interest and commitment cast a wide social responsibility net because homes are a part of the communities.
Loweâs has made significant contributions every year to schools, nonprofits and community organizations through corporate donations, the Loweâs Charitable and Educational Foundation and store giving. In 2014, the company donated $28 million to support these efforts.
Each year, as part of the Loweâs Heroes program, the companyâs employees volunteer thousands of hours of their time to help out with projects that benefit its communities. In 2014, a total of 2,051 community projects received support from 41,020 Loweâs Heroes volunteers.
Loweâs Toolbox for Education, the signature education grant program of the company, provides scholarship funds to advance educational opportunities for students across the country. Loweâs has partnered with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together tohelp increase access to safe and affordable housing for all.
By 2020, Loweâs aims to improve its U.S. store energy efficiency by 13 percent per square foot and reduce enterprise carbon emissions by 20 percent per square foot against a 2010 baseline. In 2014, the company replaced 1.6 million fluorescent lamps with lower-wattage lamps, saving enough energy to supply power to 14 stores for one year.
Loweâs has also set a 2020 target to reduce waste by 40 percent. The company has prioritized increased waste audits to better understand its waste stream. These audits help identify recycling opportunities for lightweight materials that currently go to landfill.
As a part of its water conservation efforts, Loweâs limits water use at its Loweâs garden centers by shifting watering schedules to earlier in the morning or later in the day to reduce evaporation, removing water from outdoor display fountains and conducting inspections of spigots and hoses to identify and repair leaks.
To improve employee engagement, Loweâs conducts its annual Employee Opinion Survey each fall, to ask all permanent full-time and part-time employees to share their views on a variety of topics, from company culture to work-life balance. Loweâs leadership team reviews the survey findings and initiates programs to address the issues and opportunities raised.
In 2014, the readers of the website Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology named Loweâs as one of only three retailers included in the Best Diversity Companies of the year. The National Inclusion Project also recognized Loweâs as a 2014 Champions Honoree for its work in supporting an inclusive workforce for individuals with disabilities, and Veteran Recruiting selected Loweâs as one of its Top 10 VetFriendly Employers for 2014.
Loweâs undertakes social accountability audits in more than 900 manufacturing facilities operated by its import suppliers and managed by LG Sourcing. The social accountability audit comprises 18 categories and 148 checkpoints, focusing on issues such as working hours, compensation and benefits, employment practice, environmental compliance and worker health and safety.
The culture of diversity at Loweâs extends to its supply chain. Its supplier diversity program aims to give small and diverse businesses an opportunity to provide products and services to Loweâs. The company focuses on buildingrelationships with women-, minority-, veteran- and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, as well as those operating in Historically Underutilized Business zones (HUBZones).