Energy efficiency improving? Depends what you count

Energy efficiency improvements do pay off for Canadian companies, but there is still a long way to go. Canadian Tire, for example, cut its operating costs by reducing energy used in its buildings, operations and transport between 2007 and 2010. According to a report provided to us, Canadian Tire claims to have reduced the energy and carbon footprint of its product transport by 9%. In buildings and operations, energy use per square metre of real estate decreased by 17.9%.

But the 82% of Canadian Tire’s energy footprint that is embedded in its retail products increased 1.6% since 2007, and the tonne-km of products shipped increased by 22.5%. That is, Canadian Tire is bringing more stuff from farther away, and that stuff has a bigger carbon footprint than ever. Are we making progress yet?

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