Loblaw launches national plastic shopping bag reduction program



    
    Loblaw commits $3 million over 3 years to WWF-Canada to inspire 1 million
    Canadians to take action for the environment
    

    BRAMPTON, ON, April 20 /CNW/ - In an effort to reduce the environmental
impact of plastic shopping bags, starting April 22, 2009, Loblaw corporate and
participating franchise stores will no longer provide complimentary plastic
shopping bags to customers. Customers will be charged $0.05 for each requested
plastic shopping bag. With this initiative Loblaw hopes to meet its stated
goal of diverting 1 billion plastic shopping bags from landfills by the end of
2009.
    "We are encouraged by our customers' support of reusable bag practices to
reduce waste," said Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies
Limited. "At Loblaw we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of
our operations and driving industry innovation for responsible approaches to
business."
    Loblaw has invested and tested various approaches in an effort to
identify best practices in reducing plastic shopping bag use. Loblaw data
revealed that its stores that have been charging a nominal fee for plastic
bags distribute almost 55 per cent fewer bags per $1,000 in sales than those
stores that provide plastic shopping bags for free. While Loblaw stores that
provide only a rebate to reward the use of reusable bags distributed
approximately four per cent fewer plastic shopping bags. In addition, stores
involved in the Company's plastic bag reduction pilot program in the City of
Toronto resulted in distributing approximately 75 per cent fewer plastic
shopping bags per $1000 in sales. The data reveals that a nominal charge for
bag strategy is the key driver behind significantly reducing plastic shopping
bag use.
    Loblaw is proud to be working with WWF-Canada to further encourage
Canadians to demonstrate their support of the environment. For the next three
years, Loblaw will provide a corporate donation and partial proceeds from the
charge on plastic shopping bags from corporate stores totaling $3 million to
WWF-Canada. This will support the development of WWF-Canada's national program
to help Canadians reduce their daily environmental footprint through simple
planet-friendly actions. The program includes a series of targeted campaigns
aimed at inspiring at least 1 million Canadians to make changes to their
behaviour, such as the use of reusable bags, as first steps toward sustainable
living and to demonstrate that small actions make a real difference to the
environment. WWF-Canada will engage Canadians in their own communities, be
they online, offline, urban or rural, and recognize those who are leading by
example and celebrate personal and collective action. In the province of
Quebec WWF-Canada will be working with the Quebec Environment Foundation (FQE)
to administer the program.
    "Loblaw has shown great leadership in helping Canadians give up plastic
bags," says Gerald Butts, President and CEO, WWF-Canada. "We are excited to
work with Loblaw to help Canadians take further actions to live healthier,
more sustainable lives."
    The remainder of the proceeds from the charge on plastic bags will be
used to cover the cost of the Loblaw plastic shopping bag reduction program
and invested back in the business in price and customer service.
    Shopping with reusable bags requires a change in behaviour by customers
and Canadians are supportive of making that change. Research conducted in
March 2009 for Loblaw by Leger Marketing revealed that 81 per cent of
Canadians support Loblaw's plan to divert 1 billion plastic shopping bags from
landfills by implementing a pay for plastic bag program.
    Many efforts are being taken to assist customers in this transition, from
the Bring It reminder signage campaign, in-store customer announcements,
limited time promotional offers on reusable bag options and importantly a new,
33 per cent larger and heavier gauge plastic shopping bag. The new bag is now
made with 15 per cent plastic waste material recovered from the manufacturing
process and the thicker larger bag makes it stronger, allowing for repeat use
and more items per bag.
    To help customers make the transition to reusable bag options, Loblaw
corporate and franchise stores are offering a variety of special limited time
promotions. From April 16 to 26, there will be a 50 per cent off promotion in
all corporate and participating franchise stores on all PC(R) G.R.E.E.N(TM).
Reusable Shopping Bags (large and original size) and from April 22 to 30,
online coupons will be available from individual Loblaw store banner websites
for a free PC G.R.E.E.N. Box with a minimum $60 purchase at stores. If
customers of participating stores forget their reusable bags, they can borrow
Loblaw's PC G.R.E.E.N Box for a fully refundable deposit.

    About WWF-Canada

    WWF-Canada is part of WWF, the world's largest conservation organization.
At WWF we advocate and promote lasting solutions to the challenge of balancing
growing human need and environmental sustainability. In collaboration with
business, government, communities and individuals we take a science-based
approach to the protection, management and restoration of environmentally
sensitive parts of our planet. Our work includes visionary projects focused on
climate change, freshwater and the health of habitat and species across Canada
and around the world. For more information about WWF-Canada visit wwf.ca

    About FQE :

    The Quebec Environment Foundation (FQE) was founded in 1987 by a group of
prominent Quebecers who wished to take concrete action towards ensuring a
better management for our environment. The Foundation is a non-profit
organization whose mission is to raise Quebec's awareness of environmental
issues through information and action, and to encourage a change in societal
attitudes and habits in this regard. In addition, the FQE works to accelerate
behavioural changes in the face of numerous environmental issues. The Quebec
Environment Foundation also accompanies enterprises, governments and the
general population in their efforts to take tangible actions towards reducing
their environmental impact.

    About Loblaw Companies Limited

    Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is
Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general
merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest
private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and
franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over
139,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store
formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and
successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household
demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and
value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private)
label program, including the unique President's Choice(R), no name(R) and Joe
Fresh Style(R)brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers
President's Choice Financial(R) services and offers the PC(R) points loyalty
program.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: or images, please contact: Karen Gumbs, Sr.
Manager, Corporate Affairs, Loblaw Companies Limited, (905) 459-2500 ext.
6041, karen.gumbs@loblaw.ca; Tara Wood, PR Manager, WWF-Canada, (416)
484-7710, twood@wwfcanada.org; Sarah Burger, Coordinator, FQE, (514) 849-3323,
sburger@fqe.qc.ca


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