Academy Sports + Outdoors is one of the nation's largest sporting goods and outdoor stores. One of their goals is to provide sustainable products that benefit both the environment and the community. One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) is responsible consumption and production, which serves to increase the material footprint and reduce waste. As a small family-owned business, its mission is to provide “Fun for All”. It achieves its mission by enacting seven key company values: a focus on customers, excellence in all activities, responsible leadership, urgently taking initiative, being students of the business, always acting with integrity, and focusing on the positive impacts made on communities.
Nicholls State University
Academy Corp was founded in 1938 in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. It was founded by Arthur Gochman. He purchased Southern Surplus Sales in Houston and changed its name to "Academy Corp." It was finally changed to "Academy Sports + Outdoors" in 1995. Academy is headquartered out of Katy, TX. The mission statement, vision, and company values are important aspects of the Academy as they emphasize worker well-being. As a retailer, Academy’s mission is to provide fun for all via an assortment of products, value, and experiences for various customers. Academy fulfills this mission with a localized merchandising strategy and value proposition that connects with a diverse range of consumers. Academy envisions to be the best sports + outdoors retailer in the country. Academy would like members of the community to connect and have fun with each other. To build connections within the community, the Academy supports events, programs, and organizations that make a positive impact. Responsible Consumption and Production are one of the UN SDGs and is Academy's work aligns with this goal.
In 2019, the company recycled a large amount of waste to save money and improve its environmental impact. Today, Academy operates 259 stores in 16 states with more than 20,000 team members throughout the South, Southeast, and Midwest. Sales exceeded $5.69 billion for fiscal 2020. The company has a roadmap planned phase by phase to ensure that the company reaches its many sustainability goals. For instance, according to the academy progress report “100 percent of private brand footwear is packaged in recycled cardboard boxes”.
Academy can help people gear up properly for sports and outdoor activities while staying safe, having fun, and making connections with each other for a greater benefit. To build connections within society, Academy Sports + Outdoors has supported events, organizations, and programs that make a positive impact on locals. Academy was built to provide the best equipment that customers can benefit from. However, not only do they serve athletes, but other professionals as well. For example, they sell firearms for hunters and fishing gear for fishermen. They hope to maintain a positive image for the business, support their locals within given communities, and provide the best customer satisfaction that consumers anticipate. This will allow them to be innovative. Their innovation looks much like sustainable developmental plans, and how they work towards selling high-quality sporting goods.
One of the AIM2Flourish goals is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for everyone of all ages. Academy adheres to this by providing outdoor life and sports equipment to promote health. Another aim is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Academy offers tuition reimbursement and even online schooling programs for employees. The final Aim2Flourish goal is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Academy has made sure that their employees are capable of completing tasks required for the job and are properly trained for it. Their team members consist of people who have a passion for sports and the outdoors. According to Academy, their employees are referred to as "Enthusiasts" because they use the products they sell and live active lifestyles. Furthermore, this allows them to advise customers with products that suit their specific needs and the nuances of the local environment. Enthusiasts at Academy also serve to emphasize the importance of safety while using products. In return, customers can trust employees in decision-making and purchasing. Customers can also refer Academy to others within the community. Enthusiasts are hired to be friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive toward customers, which increases customer satisfaction. Team members must be trained and qualified to sell and transfer firearms.
Inspiration is important to what drives a leader to succeed in day-to-day interactions with customers and employees. The operation manager, J’ai Breaux, has been inspired to build the community within the Houma area. J’ai has been a part of the team since June 2013. Pointing to key points with the local community, J'ai stated: “A high point is a relationship we build with our customers, especially our customers that came to our store for their first t ball bat and have since returned season after season”. As an operations manager, she was given more responsibility to bring the changes to build that community. From meeting J’ai, you can tell from the way she carries herself in the workplace that she is highly respected.
J’ai expressed to us that she loves her job. Throughout her experience with Academy Sports, she was able to be exposed to a lot of hands-on initiatives. One particular program she mentioned to us was the tuition reimbursement program. This program pays for a portion of the college coursework required for employees to better themselves. Academy prides itself on creating opportunities for others like J'ai. J’ai also mentions Academy Sports helps out with local hurricane recovery efforts. Recovery programs, such as disaster relief, are another way that Academy intentionally fosters a sense of community. In conclusion, J’ai has given us insight into what makes Academy the leading brand in sports and outdoor equipment. The community and the impact that it imparts ensures a better world with the benefit of a loyal following.
There are two innovations that Academy Sports focus on: being environmentally friendly and building a community. Academy has made short and long-term strides in being environmentally friendly through the use of recycled materials in distribution centers. Strides in building the community have been done through countless non-profit organizations and community organizations.
The short-term effect of Academy minimizing environmental impact is improved resource efficiency and reduction of retail waste within retail and distribution areas. For example, Academy has replaced previously non-environmentally friendly designs with ones that are environmentally friendly. Changes include automatic sensors on restroom sinks, LED lighting and dimming system, daylight harvesting, and exterior lightning on a time schedule. Additionally, the process of identifying what is recyclable and what's not has helped reduce the company’s retail waste.
The community in the short term has been built through three main points. First, Academy encourages safety by providing gear for outdoor activities along with promoting smart and proper ways to stay safe. Second, Academy empowers fun by motivating others to try the latest things. Third, building connections within the community is done through supporting organizations that have a positive influence on the community.
Long term, the company has committed to recycling materials for brand apparel, recycling for brand packaging, and the use of recycled material for insole boards. These long-term goals are evident in a 46.5 percent increase in recycled waste for the year of 2019. Furthermore, there has been a large increase in the number of saved trees, energy, water, oil, and trash saved from landfills. By taking drastic changes, it shows that Academy is making a true effort toward being an environmentally friendly company. The long-term goal for Academy to build a community is through disaster relief programs such as hurricane recovery. Recently, this program came into action with the arrival of hurricane Ida. Vital supplies such as water, food, and other support during the trying period.
Vendors must act in ethical and professional manners in order to do business with Academy. They expect vendors to conduct business responsibly and comply with their Vendor Code of Conduct. This allows them to promote social and environmental responsibility, minimize their impact on the environment, and provide a safe and healthy workplace. One of the most important ways that Academy supports the community is through partnerships with sports teams and outdoor organizations.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, innovation has helped them to identify their ESG issues. Programs and organizations have donated to Academy, and many have used Academy as their sponsor. Over the years, customer satisfaction has expanded Academy’s business and cleared its path. Having customers who are satisfied can lead to customer loyalty. Customer loyalty has allowed Academy to franchise its business throughout many different states in the US. Academy works with the community to help them gain insight about staying active and fit, but in a safe and affordable way. Their products have gotten them recognized in many places. Academy’s support for the community has granted them rewards and access to what’s needed for the community. They've helped rebuild communities after damage from hurricanes within the region. This has contributed to the recovery of damaged homes and other properties that have gone to waste. In doing so, employees benefit from this because they can be recognized as good patrons.
There are three things that Academy Sports focuses on regarding the environment: environmental sustainability, operations and facilities, and retail waste. Each one of the sectors that Academy works in is important because it shows how the company intends to reduce its environmental impact. Their brand products consist of recycled material. They serve the community with different products that were made to last, and even be recycled after use. For example, 100% of their footwear has been recycled using cardboard boxes. Product descriptions are denoted for recyclability. The goals for 2024 are to make 35% of academy-owned apparel to be made from recycled material, 50% of packaging to be made from recycled materials, and 50% of insole boards to be made from recycled materials. Recycling waste is the most effective way they are diverting waste from landfills. Thousands of trees, barrels of oil, water, and cubic yards have been saved from being in landfills. Second, achieving resource efficiency by minimizing energy usage and associated emissions, use water more efficiently.
J'ai Breaux, Operations Manager
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Thibodaux, LA, US
Business Website: https://www.academy.com/
Year Founded: 2016
Number of Employees: 11 to 50