David Jones has sought ways to reduce energy consumption and find a way to decrease expenditure costs. Through the initiative of live tracking of energy usage and the effects of replacing old metal halide and florescent luminaries with energy-efficient LEDs, it has found an achievable and scalable project to implement in its stores.
There are currently 20 selected David Jones stores with the new lighting technology. With several stores being old in nature it was an important driver in taking action to reduce consumption and provide a long-term program with a supplier to minimizing consumption (Woolworths Holding, 2020). It is one of the first partnerships between a retailer and a provider where 7-year parts and labor warranty is agreed upon along with replacement of LEDs being free of charge, this, in turn, makes it in the supplier's interest to install lights that last longer. With a clear goal of the amount of energy to be consumed, it allows for a longer contract to be tendered.
Doncaster LED Energy Consumption Comparison
Lok-Man Shu, Environment Manager at David Jones stated that “the low-hanging fruit are the ones you can get a good environmental outcome as well as a financial outcome”. A big part of the business more recently is their ‘Good Business Journey’ as we have seen the implementation of several sustainable initiatives such as publishing information about their production factories to demonstrate transparency. This has also included the ‘Mindfully Made’ platform which lists brands that adhere to one or more of the five new sustainability principles which include Community Minded, Australian Made, Reduce and Recycle, Kind to Animals, and Sourced with care (David Jones, 2021b). It has been pointed out that “anything attached to energy usually has a good financial proposition” allowing to save energy and money at the same time. Lok-Man reiterated that it made sense for him to start with such a project, with the right contract negotiated by David Jones an upfront investment eliminated operating costs surrounding labor and LED replacement making the payback attractive. His plan is to expand the LEDs across the entire fleet, this has been achieved to date with conservative figures to build trust with finance and other departments to provide realistic goals for one of the largest retailers in Australia.
To understand the impact more closely we look at the example of David Jones Doncaster’s LED light installation with live energy metrics as seen in the story image on the consumption of energy. A decrease of approximately 30% was attributed to the change in technology. Some stores have seen a reduction of up to 40%. A contributing factor pointed out by Lok-Man was the previously inefficient lighting causing Heat dissipation, this is when an object that is hotter is placed in an environment where the heat of the object is transferred to the colder objects and environment, in David Jones’ case causing the air conditioning to work harder and consume more energy. The emphasis of such projects is primarily focused on the reduction of consumption rather than substitution as many sites are not fully owned by the company. Sustainability information has an important impact on consumer’s evaluation of the company and purchase intent (Whelan & Fink, 2016). Parent company Woolworths Holding (2020) highlights that understanding impact requires close monitoring of its energy footprint. Hence the establishment of a seamless process for collating, evaluating, and managing data in this space.
These actions contribute to David Jones’ ‘Good Business Journey’, which highlights the journey to become one of the most responsible retailers in the world (David Jones, 2021b). It is important to highlight that it extends further than operating costs and economic growth. More specifically something as switching and tracking light usage positively allows sales professionals and logistics workers to have access to consistent and brighter light which makes the identification of products and hazards more easily identifiable including things such as damaged fixtures. A specific example of this is the easier application of beauty products, as the customer doesn’t have to be moved to an alternative area to get better lighting. The example put forward drew from the homewares department at Doncaster David Jones comparing a before light meter reading of 356.2 lux and an after reading of 577 lux with the new LED lights having an increase of close to 65%.
The benefits of the above actions can be linked back to the sustainable development goals. SDG 7 explores the energy efficiency targets that are seen from the reduction in consumption through live metrics and better technology which ties into SDG 8 allowing for economic growth through savings and decent work for individuals through better working spaces. The contracts with suppliers also link with SDG 17 helping to promote effective partnerships among businesses to achieve parts of specific goals. SDG 12 reiterates the use of sustainable consumption and production patterns which David Jones has backed up in the form of science-based targets with their parent company Woolworths Holding committing to reduce 50% of absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 and an aim for 25% of their suppliers to have science-based targets by 2024 (Science-Based Targets, 2021). The LED program is a driver in combating climate change and its impacts, by reducing consumption by 30% touching on SDG13. The realization of “integrating sustainability into corporate strategy not only creates value and a sustainable competitive advantage but also responds to stakeholders’ demands concerning environmental and social issues.” (Murthy, 2012, p.12). With David Jones being a signatory to the UN Global Compact it has encouraged the businesses to aid in adopting sustainable practices and report on the implementations taken on a yearly basis in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition working towards two important targets of achieving net-zero emissions and keeping global temperature rise to under two degrees through the Take 2 Sustainability Victoria pledge as a signatory (David Jones, 2021c).
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Lok-Man Shu, Environment Manager
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Business Website: http://www.davidjones.com/
Year Founded: 1838
Number of Employees: 5001 to 10000
David Jones is considered Australia’s leading premium retailer. It was founded in 1838 by Welsh immigrant David Jones. With over 180 years in operation, it is the oldest department store in the world that has continuously operated under the name it was founded under (David Jones, 2021a). There are currently 47 department stores mainly in Australia and 2 in New Zealand. Products vary from fashion, beauty, tech, homewares, and food.