Home Depot is Leading the Way - Again

Posted On: 
Nov 16, 2017
Home Depot is Leading the Way - Again

With sales of $94.6 billion and earnings of $8 billion in 2016, you would think the nation’s largest home improvement specialty retailer would be happy to leave well enough alone. After all, according to their 2017 Sustainability Report, they helped to reduce CO2 emissions, produced 135 MW of energy, and recycled over 72 million gallons of water. It’s not like they haven’t done their part. However, they aren’t done yet.

Refusing to Leave Well Enough Alone

In that same report, the Vice President of Environmental Innovation Ron Jarvis states “We’re constantly working to balance the responsibilities of being a global retailer that embraces sustainable aspirations.” These are amazing words, but there are many companies that use pretty statements to make them seem sustainable. Some may even make an effort by adding recycling bins, and providing ride-share. Then they stop. Their efforts are good enough.

With major restrictions and standards on the flooring they carry, the way the gardens are handled, and the paints that they carry, Home Depot has pushed the limits of what a DIY superstore can do to provide green alternatives for updating and renovating your home or office. In 2017, Home Depot is pushing to raise that level even higher.

Changes Are Coming

The milestonesthat Home Depot had reached for were exceeded in 2015. Aiming for a 20% energy reduction, they hit 30%. Aiming at 20% carbon emissions they hit 35%. There is no reason to think they won’t hit their 2020 goals as well. They have begun making changes to reach those by not accepting any wood products from The Amazon and Congo basins, unless FSC certified.

Home Depot has also unveiled a new chemical oversight program in five product categories. Thi will increase the assortment of products that have transparency, and committing to working with their suppliers to improve the chemicals within the products, as in the case with the vinyl products that Home Depot carries.

What This Can Mean for Product Manufacturers

In a previous blog, we talked about what trends 2017 would bring to building product manufacturers. The goal of most building manufacturers is to be specified in many projects, and be in the big box stores for the DIY’ers. Home Depot was never to be a pie-in-the-sky place to showcase out of reach, expensive items. It wasn’t meant to be a place where architects went shopping in catalogs. According to their website, Home Depot’s founders always meant for it to be “a superstore that would offer a huge variety of merchandise at great prices and with a highly trained staff.” They have kept that promise while expanding it to include healthy products for a healthy world.

This can open the door for product manufacturers who have transparency documents ready, and have their name in front of the right people. Home Depot has shown us that no matter how successful your business gets, that is no excuse to not continue to raise the bar. Innovation in the green building world doesn’t stop with manufacturers, it starts with them. What is your company doing to raise the bar for a more sustainable built environment?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank