Retailers celebrate Earth Day with 'green' initiatives

Retailers are celebrating Earth Day on April 22 as an annual day of focus on environmental protection, and a good many are highlighting Earth-friendly initiatives.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be honoring Earth Day in its retail stores internationally by covering the Apple Store logos with green and outfitting employees in Earth Day shirts. The company is also planning to hold a special event at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

The event comes one day after the launch of Apple's "Better" environmental campaign. On Monday, the company released a short video narrated by CEO Tim Cook touting numerous Apple projects aimed to not only decrease the company's impact on the environment, but to aid in the world's health.

Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) recently inked a deal to further its environmental mission. The organic and natural foods retailer will begin using a new processor that turns food waste into organic fertilizer to be sold to farmers and consumers. The WISErg Harvester unit will be installed at a Whole Foods' store in Bellevue, Wash., next month to enable the store to reduce food waste and provide data to help better manage perishable inventory.

"Our partnership with WISErg is another example of our commitment to the community and the environment," said Dena Hastings, regional green mission specialist for Whole Foods. "We can help to create a virtuous circle of food consumption and production, with nearby growers using organic fertilizer made from food scraps that originate in our store."

REI, the outdoor retailer, announced its commitment to sourcing electricity from renewable sources just in time for Earth Day. The company already has 26 solar electric systems generating clean power and a program designed to invest in energy efficiency. REI began installing solar panels on certain stores in 2008 after Blue Oak Energy conducted a three-year feasibility survey that found solar rooftop panels can provide 10 to 100 percent of a store's electricity.

Now, REI is buying certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) in order to power more than 130 stores, two distribution centers and its headquarters. REI's annual purchase of RECs are equivalent to removing almost 8,000 cars from the road or switching over 990,000 incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents. The retailer's goal is to become climate neutral in its operations by 2020.

For more:
-See this Food Navigator article
-See this Apple Insider article
-See this REI press release

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