Canada goes green mile by mile - AIR MILES launches My Planet



    
    Ninety-four per cent of Canadians say choosing green products
    important but barriers linger: poll
    

    TORONTO, April 16 /CNW/ - The vast majority of Canadians, 94 per cent,
feel it is important that they personally help the environment by choosing
green products, according to a new poll by Environics Research for the AIR
MILES Reward Program. But the poll also reveals that two-thirds admit to
holding back due to concerns about the validity of green claims (67 per cent),
the perception that green products cost more (66 per cent), and the difficulty
finding green products (59 per cent). Against this backdrop, AIR MILES has
introduced the My Planet program (www.airmiles.ca/myplanet), an engaging new
initiative designed to inspire and enable its over 9.5 million active AIR
MILES Collectors to make more environmentally sustainable choices in their
everyday lives through green rewards, information and an online community.
    The first phase of the My Planet program helps Collectors live greener
and keep their cash by offering a broad range of over 100 My Planet rewards
that contribute to a more environmentally-sustainable lifestyle, according to
an assessment process created by TerraChoice, North America's leading
science-based environmental marketing firm. Items range from transit passes to
green energy services to environmentally friendlier cleaning products, all
available by redeeming AIR MILES reward miles. My Planet also includes an
easy-to-use, online Learning Centre with information-rich content that
provides Collectors with facts, articles, tips and community forums to help
them make more environmentally sustainable choices.
    "The goal of the My Planet program is to harness our tremendous
relationship with 70 per cent of Canadian households to affect positive change
for the environment," says Bryan Pearson, CEO of LoyaltyOne and its AIR MILES
Reward Program. "Canadians have voiced their concern for the environment and
their strong desire to help, and our goal with the introduction of My Planet
is to enable them to make more sustainable choices, every day. By launching My
Planet, we also will continue to introduce changes that reduce their own
carbon footprint."

    My Planet Rewards

    Each My Planet reward is identified, assessed and approved using
principles and guidelines developed in collaboration with TerraChoice. This
assessment subjects each potential My Planet reward to life cycle-based
environmental screening criteria to help advance at least one of AIR MILES'
three key environmental priorities: reduced CO2 emissions, reduced harmful
chemicals and conservation of natural resources.
    "Many Canadian consumers are eager to make more environmentally
preferable choices, and we're proud to be working with AIR MILES to create
benchmarks and assessment tools to help them screen each My Planet reward for
environmental benefits," says Melissa Peneycad, consultant, TerraChoice
Environmental Marketing Inc., creators of the Government of Canada's EcoLogo
program. "We applaud AIR MILES for the thorough approach they have taken in
selecting My Planet rewards. AIR MILES Collectors can be assured that they are
participating in a program based on sound environmental science and best
practices."

    Making a Difference

    In addition to products and services, Collectors can redeem reward miles
for tax-receiptable cash donations to WWF-Canada, one of the country's leading
conservation organizations and a new charitable partner for AIR MILES.
WWF-Canada is actively engaged in programs and initiatives to ensure the
sustainable use of renewable natural resources and promote the reduction of
pollution and wasteful consumption. WWF-Canada's environmental leadership,
combined with the marketing reach of AIR MILES, will help make a difference
towards awareness and action.
    "We're very pleased to be selected as the environmental charity of choice
of the My Planet program," says Gerald Butts, president and CEO, WWF-Canada.
"Through Earth Hour we have seen that Canadians are ready to be part of the
solution on climate change. As consumers, we can have a big impact on the
planet through the choices we make. We congratulate the My Planet program for
providing Canadians with alternatives that can enable them to reduce their
individual footprint on the planet. In providing new, lower footprint rewards
such as transit passes and clean energy discounts, the My Planet program is
encouraging green choices," added Butts.
    The initial launch of the My Planet program provides Collectors with a
content-rich learning section to help them live a more sustainable lifestyle
as well as the opportunity to redeem their miles for products that are better
for the environment. As the program grows, AIR MILES and its sponsors will
look to expand offers that will enable Collectors to earn reward miles on
their sustainable purchases as well. Already, some sponsors in high-frequency
businesses including grocery, hardware and pharmacy offer consumers green
options to their everyday purchases.

    Internal Sustainability

    LoyaltyOne's sustainability efforts began three years ago with a series
of changes aimed at reducing the Company's environmental footprint. Recent
initiatives include the appointment of a chief sustainability officer, use of
environmentally sustainable office materials and products, plus changes to
workplace processes and behaviours such as carpooling and videoconferencing.
Future plans include leasing LEED standard buildings, a fleet of shared Smart
Cars at the LoyaltyOne head office in downtown Toronto to encourage employees
to use public transit to get to work, and a plan to equip the Company's
Mississauga Customer Care Centre with one of Canada's largest building-mounted
solar panel arrays of over 600 panels that will generate more than 100
kilowatts of clean electricity per year.

    About the AIR MILES Reward Program:

    Founded in 1992, the AIR MILES Reward Program is Canada's premier
coalition loyalty program. More than 9.5 million active Collector accounts,
representing approximately two-thirds of all Canadian households, actively
participate in the Program. The AIR MILES Reward Program allows Collectors to
indulge in leisure, entertainment, merchandise, travel and other lifestyle
rewards quickly, simply by doing their everyday shopping for products and
services at AIR MILES Sponsors. AIR MILES reward miles can be redeemed for
more than 800 different rewards, such as movie passes, family attractions,
electronic merchandise, sports and recreation, travel and more.

    About the poll:

    Results are based on a telephone poll by Environics Research conducted
with a representative sample of adult Canadians from March 19-24, 2009. A
total of 2,004 interviews were completed. A sample of this size will produce a
sampling error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Regional breakouts are available.

    To access My Planet fact sheets and backgrounders online, please visit:
www.airmiles.ca/myplanet and select the media section.





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview: Lisa Mills or
Carrie Makrigiannis, Environics Communications, (416) 920-9000,
lmills@environicspr.com, cmakrigiannis@environicspr.com; French-language
media: Simon Falardeau, Capital-Image, (514) 739-1188,
sfalardeau@capital-image.com; For AIR MILES Reward Program: Shawna Rossi,
LoyaltyOne/AIR MILES Reward Program, (416) 552-2418, srossi@loyalty.com


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