In the last year, I have travelled across our company speaking to our employees, across Canada speaking to our customers, and across the world speaking to our suppliers, to communicate our passion and focus around this new purpose. During these talks, I made a pledge that my tenure would start with new ideas around CSR, and quickly be followed by concrete actions.
As a company, we feel very proud of our progress to date. Our new framework clarified our intentions to make progress in four key areas:
I would like to lay out the achievements we've had in these four areas during this past year and comment on where we are going from here.
We believe that we have already become the leader in our industry on CSR. At the same time, I would absolutely stress that we see everything we've done as a beginning and not an end. We are committed to a long-term outlook on CSR and will work to continually improve and expand how the company is performing on corporate social responsibility.
Finally I would make one important point. I and this company are entirely committed to straight and candid talk about social responsibility.
The very best companies on CSR are the ones that deal with the issue straightforwardly and are candid about the immense challenges involved in trying to be a leader on CSR. If issues in one’s supply chain emerge, the best companies talk about it openly and solve it quickly. This will be our approach. Any manufacturing facility located anywhere in the world, for example, will have issues that from time to time require remediation. The best companies are honest about that fact and are constantly working to improve. This is the kind of commitment that we intend to hold ourselves to now and over the long term.
R.J. McCarthy announces first accountability report in the history of the North American school uniform industry MORE>
We made changes to our Code of Conduct this year to increase our focus and signal our commitment to CSR to our suppliers.
While the principles of our code have remained the same, we have made significant progress in our ability to measure and benchmark the CSR initiatives at RJM and our supply network.
This year we selected Intertek, a leading quality and safety partner for global businesses, as our responsible manufacturing partner. Intertek performed full audits of our six cut and sew factories in China and our Toronto headquarters in Canada, and created comprehensive audit reports.
These audit reports allow us to track policy violations and the initiatives under way to eliminate violations in the future. They also allow us to ensure that our partners are focused on sustainability and committed to making improvements.
RJM has achieved carbon neutrality for all of its owned operations
For these emissions, we have conducted a comprehensive internal project to reduce the emissions that could be reduced, and where we have not reduced, we have purchased offsetting donations (referred to as “offsets”) toward renewable energy projects to reduce our carbon-footprint to zero.
We have provided our offsets to the Commission Scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoy (CSMB) GHG Emissions Reduction, a project that consists of a series of energy efficiency measures across over 100 schools in the Greater Montreal area.
Emissions for 2008 were offset with Carbonzero, we paused in 2009 to assess our program and our needs, and are planning to renew offsetting with Carbonzero for 2010.
We have transitioned our light fixtures to use more energy efficient bulbs and have installed occupancy sensors in low-traffic areas to save energy. Over time, we will explore transitioning to more energy efficient and less pollution-emitting cooling and heating systems in all of our buildings.
Furthermore, RJM is proud to announce their transition to a fleet of energy-efficient vehicles for its sales force. Since September 1, 2009, all members of RJM's school sales team have been driving the new Toyota Prius, one of the world's leading hybrid vehicles with a reputation for first rate fuel efficiency.
Through our partnership with BFI waste management, we introduced recycling facilities across all showrooms in 2009, resulting in a reduction of waste by approximately 30%.
In addition, we are minimizing consumption and reducing waste by limiting materials packaging, using less paper in showrooms and in our head office, moving to double-sided copying, exploring e-billing, and by making a concerted shift to use more recycled post-consumer paper and materials in marketing products where possible.
Furthermore, all of our locations recycle and have shifted to more environmentally friendly cleaning products.