Corporate Sustainability MBA 712

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Ka Vang MBA 712 Holmen Corporate Sustainability and Why Companies Should Care

There are daily news briefings and articles that detail current company activities. It almost seems that a public company does not get to actually go “public” until it’s acted unethically, lied, cheated, or filing for bankruptcy. However, when a company “does good, does well,” it is not unusual for that information to be buried in a week-old journal found on a lone coffee table in the doctor’s lounge. It’s unfortunate because a company that receives recognition for doing good is worthy of being known. One such company is Kohl’s Department Stores. Kohl’s was recognized in the 2011 as being the first US company to earn LEED Gold precertification under the U.S. Green Building’s Council’s LEED Volume Program. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environment Design is an international program with specific guidelines to steer companies from all parts of the world with the ethical responsibility to consider our natural lands when they decide to construct new buildings. Being the first US company to achieve it is only part of why Kohl’s has been able to establish itself as a leader in corporate responsibility – and with reason. Other ways that Kohl’s has achieved corporate sustainability are through company initiated and driven programs that display the department store’s commitment to sustainability endeavors. Kohl’s Cares is an environmentally friendly program that was established to teach, as well as encourage employees and customers to recognize the importance of efforts such as recycling, sustainable building, minimizing waste, reducing energy use, consumption and cutting of emissions. Kohl’s Cares is the umbrella of the efforts and operations in place, better enabling Kohl’s to continue with its commitment to protecting and conserving the environment. The foundation of the ongoing efforts of Kohl’s Cares is Sustainable Operations. Listed are a few facts and traits of sustainable operations. Areas of Focus    Energy and Climate Recycling and Minimizing Waste Building Design

The focus areas are each its own separate sustaining program.


Energy and Climate is practiced through the measures that Kohl’s takes to improve one of the stores largest impacts on the environment from energy usage in the stores. Ways to combat this are through efforts such as setups of solar sites and ENERGY STAR stores. Kohl’s recognizes that there is always room for improvement but taking small steps will lead them to the big steps they are after. Recycling and Minimizing Waste is a way for Kohl’s to encourage and involve associates by ensuring that they have minimal waste when discard of waste is necessary. This is a small footprint but in a big way because of the amount – what would have, could have been waste is recycled at every moment it’s possible. Again, as already described, Building Design is Kohl’s way of ensuring that they meet the guidelines established by the US Green Building Council. This membership and certification is telling of the value placed in sustaining the environment. For a company to be certified, it must adhere very close and true to those already established. Kohl’s being the only U.S. company to achieve this is a huge feat. These are just a few ways that Kohl’s is committed to corporate sustainability. Corporate Sustainability is very important to the US because it’s our environment that we are preserving. In fact, U.S. is one of the lowest ranked countries in corporate sustainability. As recent as April, 2012, New York Times reported that many of our neighboring countries are much more involved and a few, like United Nations and World Bank make corporate sustainability its goal and faces the challenge head-on. The U.S. has made a mark with companies like Kohl’s, but does have work up ahead if we’re to ramp up more companies to commit to this important area.


Works Cited New York Times. Sustainable Development. May 2012. Kohl’s Cares Sustainability Program. U.S. Green Building Council for LEED. 2011 The Burns and McDonnell Team. “Kohl’s Department Stores: A Leader in Corporate Sustainability.” March 2012.


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