This year marks my third year as executive sponsor of Grainger’s CSR program and 10 years since Grainger released its first CSR report. Grainger has always organized itself around the principles that make companies naturally sustainable: efficiency, inclusion and continuous improvement. During the last decade, we have built a strong and intentional sustainability platform aligned with our business strategy. We have experienced great progress as highlighted by the following examples:
- Meeting our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity target two years early. Set in 2014, we committed to reducing our GHG emissions per revenue 33 percent by 2020. As of the end of 2018, we have achieved a 42 percent reduction overall.
- Earning recognition from Barron’s as the eighth most sustainable company in the U.S. and as a company least susceptible to climate change.
- Continuing progress in our distribution center (DC) recycling rate, improving to 86 percent in 2018 from 84 percent in 2017.
As a leader in the MRO industry, we take pride in setting the bar high for those around us. The company is approaching an important milestone in our corporate citizenship journey. This includes setting ambitious targets designed to establish stronger partnerships with customers and suppliers, along with the communities where we live and work, to create an even stronger virtuous circle.
Our intention is to lend greater structure around what we do as an organization to create long-term value for our stakeholders. Our 2019 CSR report serves as an update.
As we prepare for a comprehensive CSR Report in 2020, you will notice a few changes:
- We have adjusted our citizenship pillars to reflect our materiality assessment and create a closer tie to our long-term strategy. As we consider climate risks and opportunities, and the move to a low-carbon economy, we are including more information about the environmentally preferable products, services and solutions we offer to help our customers reach their sustainability goals.
- Key to Grainger’s success are our suppliers and distribution network. As such, we have introduced a new Supply Chain pillar focused on articulating our approach and performance in that area.
- We are thinking more about how our suppliers and our products impact our value chain. Having achieved our emissions intensity target, we will look to 2020 to announce a new GHG emissions reduction target for Grainger.
These changes are a result of our materiality assessment, which provides insight and opportunity for our corporate citizenship program. Grainger is growing, and in the process, engaging more with other leading organizations that are reaffirming commitments to areas such as climate change, inclusion and community impact, and developing stronger connections between these elements and their respective long-term business strategies. While opportunities will continue to expand in corporate citizenship, I am most proud and confident in the fact that Grainger will remain, first and foremost, anchored by the most basic of commitments: to do what’s right for those we serve.
Vice President and President Merchandising and Supplier Management