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Green Power Continues to Light the Way

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“It is the nature of truth to struggle to the light” – Wilkie Collins

This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized FedEx Office on two of its quarterly Top Partner Lists, highlighting some of America's largest green power purchasers. FedEx Office was ranked No. 1 on EPA’s new Top 20 Printers List of the largest green power purchasers in the commercial printing business, and for the 15th consecutive quarter, FedEx Office was also ranked on the EPA’s Top 20 Retail List. For more information on the EPA lists, click here.

As FedEx Office president and CEO Brian Philips said recently, “FedEx Office is proud to know our ongoing commitment to sustainability and renewable resources has made us the number one green power purchaser in the commercial printing industry. We also continue to be honored by our recognition on the EPA’s Top 20 Retail List.”

This recognition provides insight into our approach to green power. First, sustainable energy practices start with conservation at our facilities, offices and retail locations. Our team members actively work to cut down on energy consumption in daily operations; and they should do so since it’s good for business and good for the environment. But, we realize there are always exceptions, and that there is more that we should do – that’s where the “struggle” sometimes comes in. We also strive to supplement these conservation efforts with a combination of on-site power generation and investments in renewable energy when the former is not a viable option.

Since 2005, FedEx has also strived to add solar power at locations where it makes sense.

  • In August 2005, FedEx Express activated California’s then-largest corporate solar power rooftop installation at our Oakland, Calif., West Coast Hub. The 81,000 square feet of roof space at the facility is covered with more than 5,700 solar electric panels for 904 kilowatts of power.
  • In spring 2008, FedEx Freight completed the installation of solar electric systems in Whittier and Fontana, California. They are 282 and 269 kilowatts solar power systems respectively.
  • FedEx Express also plans to complete the installation of a state-of-the-art solar energy system at its new Cologne, Germany Eastern European hub in 2010 that will be more than 1 megawatt (1,000 kilowatts) in power. See our Global Citizenship Report for more details.
  • And…well, stay tuned.

But, as is the case with many retailers, we do not own the properties in which FedEx Office operates, limiting our ability to integrate on-site power generation systems, such as rooftop solar panels. However, that restriction does not deter our efforts to use green power.  How so? For years FedEx Office has combined the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) and utilities' green power to offset energy consumption. In 2008, FedEx Office offset approximately 14 percent of its energy use with the purchase of 34 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in RECs and green power.

Clearly, I have taken liberties with this nineteenth century British author’s quote at the beginning since he wasn’t referring to energy. Goodness knows, however, that London residents could have used green power during the Industrial Revolution, thereby avoiding the blanket of soot they routinely wore and breathed. But, I think the quote also serves well here. We as a society have to employ practical green power solutions if we are to address environmental and economic pressures simultaneously - that is a “truth." But, it will continue to be a struggle to do so as we move into the "light" – but then again, most worthy efforts are.

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About This Blogger

Mitch discusses sustainability, governance and energy management.

Other Posts by Mitch Jackson