Sustainability at Loyalty One began as a grass roots movement in early 2006 with a small group of passionate individuals who formed LEAF (living environmentally aware forum).This volunteer group of Loyalty One employees focused on opportunities to reduce waste and energy use throughout Loyalty One’s offices. By educating and empowering other employees, sustainability quickly became second nature at Loyalty One, and in 2009, corporate social responsibility was added as a strategic priority for the company.

To ensure success, a Chief Sustainability Officer was brought on to lead the change and implement innovative programs and projects. The largest initiative Loyalty One undertook was the opening of a new sustainable Customer Care Centre in Mississauga for the AIR MILES Reward Program. The call centre, which opened in November 2009, features the largest active solar rooftop panel project in Canada (with 800 photovoltaic panels) and is designed and built to LEED double gold, core and shell, and commercial interiors standards.

The solar project has served as a great lift off for our sustainability initiatives. It highlights Loyalty One’s continued commitment to sustainability with our clients, stakeholders and employees and supports our socially responsible Collector facing programs — AIR MILES My Planet and AIR MILES for Social Change. This 50,000 square-foot environmental landmark is designed to accommodate up to 500 Loyalty One employees and generates 165 kilowatts (kW) of power back to the grid, enough to power 16 average sized homes.

The interior offices are designed to maximize natural daylight within all working areas of the facility. By installing daylight motion and multi lighting sensors, the Mississauga Call Centre expects to reduce light energy by 15%. The solar panel covered carport also supports a solar thermal hot water heater that provides hot water into the facility and has the potential to further reduce Loyalty One’s energy usage by 40%.

The solar project start-up cost was $2 million, with an annual operating cost of $4,000. Loyalty One was approved for the Ontario Feed-In Tariff Program which provides financial incentives to feed solar energy back to the grid. This generates enough income to provide a return on investment within 10-years. To date, the solar panels have generated about 259,566 kWh and eliminated 181,696 kg of carbon dioxide from pollution emissions.

The design and construction of the new Mississauga Call Center provided Loyalty One with an opportunity to make a green statement to the wider community and take the lead on the sustainability frontier. By setting a positive example, we hope to inspire clients, Collectors and employees to make more environmentally responsible choices in their everyday lives.

The greatest benefit and return for Loyalty One has been the impact on employee engagement. Employees at Loyalty One continue to demonstrate their passion for protecting the environment. This is obvious in their daily activities and active participation in Loyalty One’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, as well as the implementation of their own green committee called Earth One. Our Mississauga Facility received several awards for design and sustainability when it first opened, but we most recently received recognition for our efforts in waste minimization – a step towards our goal of becoming a zero waste facility.

Submitted by Janine Reaburn, Associate Director, Loyalty One