business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Seattle Times reports that at Costco’s annual meeting last week, CEO Jim Sinegal told attendees that “to reduce energy consumption, Costco is installing skylights and solar panels in its massive warehouse clubs. Six stores in California and Hawaii have the solar panels, and seven additional stores are to get them this year.

“The installer of the Hawaii panels, California-based REC Solar, says the installations at Costco's Kauai and Kona stores are Hawaii's two largest solar arrays.

“The panels cost about $745,000 per store, and Costco typically doesn't make that money back for three to five years. But Sinegal said they're a sign of the times: ‘We recognize, like all businesses, that we must continue to conserve and save the planet’.”

According to the story, “Sinegal said Costco is doing other things to reduce its drain on natural resources — for instance, switching from round to rectangular tubs of cashews. (The rectangular tubs mean 400 fewer truckloads shipped to stores annually because they can be stacked more efficiently than the round ones.)

“Sinegal also said Costco is expanding sales of fruits and vegetables grown in a clean, pesticide-free environment and trying to increase organic food offerings under the Kirkland Signature banner.”

KC's View: