Each day, we have more than 1,400 employees across the province working hard to contribute to the communities where we live and work. Beyond the passion we have for providing excellent customer service and ensuring that products are sold responsibly, we also make a conscious effort to work collaboratively to make meaningful and lasting contributions to our province.
We are all proudly Nova Scotian, working for a corporation that’s been owned and operated by Nova Scotians since we opened our doors in 1930. All our profits are returned to the Province of Nova Scotia making us the single greatest source of provincial revenue for Government after income taxes and GST. Our employees’ commitment to Nova Scotia extends well beyond the workplace as our dedicated employees proudly participate in and give back to our communities. From building homes for Habitat for Humanity to supporting sports programs for youth and providing annual support to the IWK Health Centre, we take commitments to our communities seriously.
NSLC Adopt A Stream
We were proud to be named the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Conservation in recognition of our sponsorship and promotion of our Adopt A Stream program in partnership with the Nova Scotia Salmon Association (NSSA). The NSSA manages the NSLC Adopt A Stream program, providing technical advice, training and project funding. “Our environment is precious and we believe it is important to do our part to help keep Nova Scotia’s rivers and streams clean,” said Bret Mitchell, President and CEO. “We were proud to accept this award and recognize our program is a success because of the thousands of Nova Scotians who volunteer their time with their local conservation groups.”
In collaboration with 35 local volunteer groups, the program has restored almost 2.2 million square meters of degraded stream habitat. Projects in 2017 were carried out to restore habitat and fish passage and improve water quality across the province, from the Annapolis River and its many tributaries to the Sysco Dam fish ladder in Sydney. Our work there made it possible for Gaspereau to return to the 140-square kilometer watershed for the first time in more than 100 years. More than 200,000 trees have been planted streamside, teams have assessed 553 culverts and 4,522 volunteers working under NSLC Adopt A Stream have undertaken 85 remediation activities. Thanks to dedicated vendor partners and supportive customers, the NSLC contributed $100,000 last year, raised through the sale of participating products in our stores during the month of April. This brings our total financial commitment to date to more than $800,000 over eight years.
Our employees decided in 1987 to champion the IWK Health Centre as their charity of choice. This year, we used a number of creative initiatives – from online auctions to throwing a pie in your boss’s face – to raise $186,000. This brings our ongoing support for more than three decades to well over $1.6 million. Our employees are thrilled to make a positive and lasting difference to the lives of mothers, children and their families by choosing to support this amazing healthcare facility.
Habitat for Humanity
Employees were eager to make a positive difference for appreciative Nova Scotia families in 2017 by participating in Habitat for Humanity builds in Oxford and Spryfield. Shanna Carpenter, Promotions Coordinator with our Customer Strategy Team, joined almost 30 NSLC volunteers helping to build a home for a young family in Spryfield. “I was very excited to participate in this build because it’s in the community where I grew up. My high school is right next door. Helping out people in my own community was extremely rewarding,” she said. Shanna helped to insulate the home and tack up vapour barrier. “I learned so much and this experience made me feel so grateful for being part of a team that really wants to do good things for our community and the people in it. I can’t wait to do it again.”
As part of the NSLC’s Give Back strategy, we also support the United Way, which helps thousands of people and communities throughout Nova Scotia by funding a number of non-profit organizations such as shelters, family resource centres and Boys and Girls Clubs. Employees participate through a payroll deduction program and put on fundraising events such as bake sales. These efforts yielded over $21,000 in 2017.
We had so much interest in participating in Sport Nova Scotia’s Corporate Games that we entered two teams for our inaugural year – For the WINe and Sip Sip Hooray. Events included riding Segways through an obstacle course, racing adult tricycles around pylons and building leaning towers of pizza boxes. It was a fun and energetic way for our employees to bond while drawing attention and raising money to help youth participate in sports.
Our Cash Can program continues to be a great success. It offers registered provincial charities the opportunity to conduct fundraising activities in our retail stores. Customers deposit spare change in donation boxes at every cash lane, raising almost $40,000 in 2017-2018, supporting such organizations as Feed Nova Scotia and Habitat for Humanity.
We strive to be a responsible corporate citizen and a good steward of our environment. We work toward making our operations as sustainable as possible, including setting and achieving ambitious goals to divert waste from our operations.
We have an important role to play in environmental stewardship and that begins at home, by minimizing our carbon footprint in our Head Office, Distribution Centre and stores. “We’re striving to be an environmentally responsible business and to help make Nova Scotia a better place to live,” said Meg Stewart, Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist.
We have a Zero Waste policy with the goal of diverting 95 per cent of solid waste from Nova Scotia landfills. We do that through waste reduction, recycling and our liquid waste program. To ensure beverage alcohol waste does not endanger our local water supply, a contracted service provider collects all liquid waste from our stores and Distribution Centre and distills it to remove ethyl alcohol. The remaining liquid is safely released into a man-made water facility.
We refreshed our Zero Waste platform in 2017, emphasizing the importance of sorting waste into the proper waste streams. To make separating garbage, compost and recycling easier, the team placed new sorting stations throughout Head Office and the Distribution Centre with signs tailored to teams that work in each area – such as ‘Sorting waste. Easier than a password reset.’ Lunch and learn sessions were held at our Head Office and Distribution Centre including all three shifts of our Distribution Centre. “We’re talking about what may seem like small things but by taking just a couple of seconds a day and making sure we are disposing of our waste correctly, collectively it makes a big difference,” said Peter MacDonald, Operations Manager – Supply Chain and Procurement.
We hold ourselves accountable to our policy with annual waste audits to ensure our actions reflect our words. We’re proud to say we have reduced waste 58% since 2010. Bringing re-useable coffee cups and lunch containers to work are simple actions that drastically cut down on how much waste is generated in our offices and stores each day and making these changes reflect our corporate values.
Safe work practises are paramount at the NSLC but when you’re dealing with liquids, accidents can happen – bottles get broken and cans get damaged. We have a liquid waste program to ensure this waste doesn’t endanger the local water supply. All liquid waste is collected then handled securely by a contracted service provider that ensures it is disposed of properly. We also have energy-efficient lighting in our stores, are installing low-flow plumbing fixtures over time and are committed to completing renovations and new builds to LEED Silver standards. This ensures energy efficiency, sustainable development and indoor environmental quality are standard store features.
Our business is one that’s heavily dependent on transportation yet looking across all aspects of our business, we’re pleased to say we have reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 20% since 2010.