I’d like to share a winning idea for energy efficiency and a resulting reduction in green house gases.

June 11th, 2009

During a company white board session last week

During a company white board session last week, one of our associates came up with a novel idea how to increase a retailers category sales, promote energy efficiency and increase reverse auction revenue for us at the same time. I like these kinds of ideas. I think they’re called win-win-win.

The category in question is light bulbs. The specific product is compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFL’s.

A compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) will save about $30 over its lifetime according to Energy Star and will pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 800,000 cars.

Like any other product containing potentially hazardous materials that you use in your home, CFLs come with some special instructions for handling, disposal and recycling.

Without going into all of the detail or long term savings calculations of our white board or idea sharing session, here are the specifics of the recommendation…

1. Retailer promotes a program that offers all associates an opportunity to buy CFL’s for their home if they are willing to replace all light bulbs in their home. The employee can receive their employee discount.
2. The CFL’s have to be purchased at the retailers store within a specified period.
3. The retailer offers to reimburse associates for the entire purchase.
4. The retailer holds a reverse auction for the CFL’s in order to reduce costs and make up for margin loss.

The Benefits:

1. The retailer promotes a program that is good for and has a direct measurable impact on the environment.
2. The retailer’s category sales go through the roof.
3. Associates household expenses are reduced with no out of pocket expense.
4. Retailer experiences a rise in associate satisfaction
5. Minimal margin impact is experienced on the category based on reverse auction savings.
6. This is a perfect example of supporting TBL or triple bottom line

In this environment, the retailer wins, the associate wins, and the reverse auction solutions provider wins.

Just imagine the impact if some of the largest retailers with thousands of employee’s were to adopt this program.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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