At a Glance
Retail and Apparel
Commercial Energy Efficiency, Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy
Santa Fe Springs, CA
Carlos Solano created a sustainability strategy and identified energy projects for a Los Angeles area supermarket.
Gelson’s Markets, a chain of supermarkets in the Los Angeles, California area owned by TPG Capital, tasked Carlos Solano with three main objectives: creating a sustainability strategy, identifying the best options for compliance with a new waste diversion law in California and identifying energy efficiency projects. Each goal included sub-projects such as creating a five-year plan for sustainability.
Solano visited most of Gelson’s Market’s 18 stores to interview employees and the leadership team. He then worked closely with vendors and city officials to identify the best available options.
Sustainability Strategy: Solano identified twenty-seven sustainability initiatives that are relevant in the industry. He categorized them by ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) factors and then broke them down further into TPG Capital’s proprietary sub-categories. Solano then compared Gelson’s Markets against comparable chains as well as national leaders. Subsequent surveys, research and interviews helped Solano identify the most exciting initiatives for Gelson’s Markets for every ESG category. At the conclusion of Solano’s summer engagement, he proposed a long term plan with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for each ESG category to help ensure future progress and momentum.
Waste Diversion: Solano approached five vendors and compared their offerings. He also considered an internal transportation option for organic waste. Taking into consideration costs-savings, risk mitigation and potential impact on store operations and on distribution center logistics, Solano recommended the optimal choice for Gelson’s Markets.
Energy Efficiency: Solano considered a variety of energy-efficiency projects that fit into two main categories: solar and store upgrades. In terms of solar, preliminary site surveys and design studies were conducted at one Gelson’s Market location. After reviewing quotes and financial models with Finance and Accounting, Solano presented his recommendation. In terms of store upgrades, a third-party energy solutions company surveyed six stores and identified ten different measures, mainly around lighting and HVAC, that could be implemented in all stores.
Gelson’s Markets has a strong legacy of sustainability and is positioned to share with its customers the story of what it has accomplished over the years, including employee education, community outreach and a persistent focus on sourcing and delivering the freshest produce. There is a great opportunity to show customers and the industry that Gelson’s Markets is embracing sustainability. In addition to enhancing consumer awareness and stewarding California’s scarce resources, Gelson’s Markets could see further financial benefits once the energy efficiency projects are implemented.