Best Buy’s New Science-Based Target Helps Customers Reduce Energy Use in Their Homes

By: Daniel Hill
Jun 24, 2019 10:35 AM ET

Originally posted on EDF+Business

In a world where big-box retailers are falling to online giants, Best Buy has managed to thrive.

Earlier this week, Best Buy announced a Science-Based Target (SBT) to help consumers reduce their carbon emissions by 20 percent and save $5 billion on utility costs. In its own operations, Best Buy will reduce carbon emissions by 75 percent.

To date, 567 companies have set or committed to set SBTs. But what makes Best Buy’s story unique is its strategy to make customers part of the equation: Reduce the company’s total carbon footprint by selling more energy efficient products to customers.

Here’s how this goal was set

In 2018, Best Buy joined the Science-Based Target initiative, which meant the company had one year to set a target that aligned with the methodology. Before it could do that, Best Buy had to quantify its total carbon footprint and identify major contributors of emissions.

Sure, operating storefronts contributes to a large amount of the retailer’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 1 and 2), but GHG emissions also come from making and transporting the physical products (Scope 3). Think about all that happens throughout the value chain to get a new item – let’s say a refrigerator – into your home. There’s the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing and production, packaging, shipping, until finally it’s found its place in your kitchen.

Except the emissions don’t stop there. There are also the GHG emissions that come from using the refrigerator 24/7. This falls under the “use of sold products” category under a company’s Scope 3 emissions. For retailers, it’s often the largest contributor of GHG emissions and also one of the hardest to tackle.

In the Summer of 2018, Best Buy engaged Daniel Katzenberger as a EDF Climate Corps fellow to assist in the development of their SBTi goal. Daniel, who still works for the company, researched SBTi goal-setting requirements, and helped design Best Buy’s approach to reducing Scope 3 GHG inventory which will include working with manufacturers, vendors and Best Buy merchants to improve product efficiencies; working with utilities to improve the carbon efficiency of the electricity grids;  and educating Best Buy employees to in turn help consumers purchase the most energy efficient products.

Best Buy’s innovative approach to tackling its Scope 3 emissions, will help the company stay competitive, while giving its customers the power to save on energy costs.

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