business news in context, analysis with attitude

Safeway is scheduled to show off its first solar-powered store today, at a unit in Dublin, California, where an acre-wide rooftop solar array provides energy for the 55,000 square foot store.

According to the company, this solar store is just part of its “green power initiative,” which it described in the following terms:

“Solar and wind energy are just part of Safeway's extensive company-wide environmental focus. The company has invested in other retail-based energy savings strategies to reduce the company's carbon power demand such has new energy-efficient refrigeration and lighting. Safeway is one of the largest retail recyclers of paper, cardboard, plastic and other materials. The company is at the recently joined the Chicago Climate Exchange, the world's first and North America's only voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction registry and trading program. Safeway has committed to reduce its carbon footprint from the base year 2000 by 390,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Additionally, each year Safeway recycles enough paper, cardboard, plastic and other materials to fill a football field 190 feet high.”
KC's View:
It is interesting to watch bottom-line-driven companies like Safeway, Tesco and Wal-Mart make what appears to real commitments to environmental initiatives even while some folks question whether global warming and climate change are issues on which we ought to be placing so much political and economic focus.

Just as a matter of interest, there is a story in the Wall Street Journal detailing one way in which the melting of the Arctic can be seen in the melting of the Northwest Passage. An excerpt:

“In the past six years, as climate change has steadily thawed the arctic, more recreational boats have crossed the passage than in the first 95 years since Roald Amundsen pioneered the route between 1903 and 1906. The hope, then and now, was to establish a trade route from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

“This summer, sailors like Mr. Swanson are breezing through the famously inhospitable 3,200-mile passage in weeks instead of years. And there's barely an iceberg to photograph as a souvenir … Soon, such journeys could become routine. Scientists predict a long-term thaw in the far north will open the passage to safe commercial shipping as early as 2020.”

Scary stuff.