Steve Thomas, Kohl’s Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, speaks to Kohl’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and what’s ahead at Kohl’s.
Q: Kohl’s recently announced it is expanding its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) platform to focus on holistic family health and wellness. What is the role of sustainability within this platform?
A: Kohl’s believes healthy communities help support healthy families, and we look after our customer’s family healthy and wellness in ways that aren’t always immediately evident. The steps we take to leave a smaller footprint reinforce the healthy lifestyle we hope to inspire in our associates, customers and their families.
Q: What excites you most about Kohl’s sustainability work?
A: With such a large footprint of more than 1,100 stores across the country, we have the unique opportunity to make a positive impact in areas like climate, chemicals and recycling, as we seek solutions to encourage long-term sustainability. I’m particularly proud that Kohl’s was named to Barron’s list of the Top 100 Sustainable Companies for 2019 – this recognizes our strong commitment to environmental, social and corporate governance practices. Separately, Kohl’s achieved a 24% energy reduction from 2008 to 2018 making us a Better Buildings Challenge Goal Achiever with the Department of Energy. This is a rare accomplishment, as the award requires a company to surpass a 20% reduction in energy use. These are both incredible first-time accomplishments that recognize how Kohl’s is championing sustainability efforts.
Q: Kohl’s also earned an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for 2019. How does Kohl’s leverage its ENERGY STAR program partnership to assess its performance?
A: Kohl’s has earned a Sustained Excellence Award every year since 2012. I’m proud of our associates who work to increase Kohl’s operational efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint across Kohl’s stores and buildings around the country. ENERGY STAR provides Kohl’s with tools and technical information to help save money and protect the climate through improved energy efficiency. Our participation in this program helps us assess the performance of our buildings and set goals to improve energy efficiency. Today, 88 percent of Kohl’s stores are currently ENERGY STAR certified, and we know our customers feel good when they see the decal on the front entrance of their Kohl’s store.
Q: What does Kohl’s offer to customers seeking to purchase sustainable products?
A: Customers shopping Kohl’s in-store and on Kohls.com will find products made with the environment top of mind. Kohl’s proprietary brand home offerings include select products that meet OEKO-TEX standards. We also offer products featuring certified recycled polyester yarns like Repreve. Outside of Kohl’s product offerings, our goal is to decrease the environmental impact of our supply chain, which we champion through our engagement with our factories. We continue to explore sustainable products we know our customers will love and feel good about purchasing.