In a press release issued just three weeks prior to the start of my EDF Climate Corps fellowship at J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP), the company publically announced its environmental goal to “reduce facility energy consumption 20 percent per gross square foot by 2015.”
A goal of this magnitude may seem daunting to most companies, but JCP’s long list of energy management conquests demonstrates that this is just another day at the office for one of the world’s leading retailers.
Already with 141 Energy Star qualified stores and counting, more than $130 million invested in energy efficiency facilities upgrades, the world’s third largest LEED Gold certified headquarters building, and a recently LEED Silver certified store in Fairview, TX, JCP is looking to other means to tackle its new energy reduction goals: employee engagement.
This is where I come in. While the majority of the 2010 EDF Climate Corps fellows will be scouring their respective company buildings for capital projects such as lighting retrofits and HVAC upgrades, I have been asked to design a strategic initiative to engage the approximately 5,500 corporate associates in JCP’s Home Office building. The goal will be to incentivize and motivate the associates to think, act, and behave with energy conservation at the forefront of their attentions.
Over the last seven weeks, my project has taken me to the four corners of the company. I’ve visited stores from San Jose, Calif., to Waxahachie, Texas; interviewed Home Office associates in departments from product development to engineering and women’s accessories; and even crossed paths with supermodel-turned-fashion designer Cindy Crawford and five-time Olympic medal winning gymnast Nastia Liukin!