Best Corporate Steward Award Winner 2010 - Best Buy

Corporate Citizenship Center

With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, China, Mexico, and Turkey, Best Buy is a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services with a commitment to growth and innovation. The Best Buy family of brands and partnerships collectively generates more than $49 billion in annual revenue and includes brands such as Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, Audio Vision, The Carphone Warehouse, Future Shop, Geek Squad, Five Star, Magnolia Audio Video, Napster, Pacific Sales, and The Phone House. Approximately 180,000 employees apply their talents to bring the benefits of our brands to life for customers through retail locations, multiple call centers, websites, in-home solutions, product delivery, and community activities.

Doing Well By Doing Good

As a technology retailer, we play a key leadership role in the connected world. It is clear to us that our people and their unique connection with customers and their communities are critical to our success. And, because everything we sell requires power to deliver value, we need to focus on energy – what we consume in our operations, in our supply chain and what our customers will consume while using our solutions.

Corporate responsibility efforts are part of any smart business strategy to grow revenue and reduce costs. The table below outlines how some of the sustainability programs we have in place at Best Buy directly benefit the organization according to the criteria often used to evaluate a company: growth, return on investment, and risk management.

Corporate Stewardship

More and more, we are observing how technology impacts the way people are connecting. In many areas of the world, there is a TV in every room, a personal computer in every home and a smart phone in every pocket. The home has become the office, and offices are connected worldwide. People are connecting to each other and to knowledge and opportunity. They receive health, weather, and financial information that help them take care of themselves, their families and their businesses.

What this means for Best Buy is that we sell products and solutions that are no longer considered discretionary – some are a part of people's daily lives. It also means that with more technology use comes greater energy consumption, and this has an impact on our planet. Sustainability for Best Buy is about placing a priority on people, technology and the power to drive it in this connected world.

Sustainability for Best Buy encompasses the social, environmental, and economic impacts of our business by placing our focus on people, technology and the power needed in the connected world. This view is underscored by our values:

  • Have fun while being the best
  • Show respect, humility, and integrity
  • Learn from challenge and change
  • Unleash the power of our people

These values are engrained in our Corporate Governance, Compliance and Ethics, Employee Engagement, Customer Advocacy, Community Relations, Ethical Supply Chain, and Environmental Stewardship.

Corporate Governance, Compliance and Ethics

Our Chief Ethics Officer, Kathleen Edmonds regularly blogs about ethical issues that arise on a day-to-day basis at Best Buy. Topics range from business practices to employee conduct to threats (online and other) to the company and individuals. Kathleen's objective is to create an open, honest dialogue about ethics in our workplace.

Employee Engagement

Our employees are core to our customer-centric business model. We engage our employees by offering great benefits and opportunities and encouraging a diverse working experience. We also involve our employees in our sustainability efforts – we want to know their ideas for creating positive change. For example, the Women's Leadership Forum (WOLF @ Best Buy) is an employee and consumer network that focuses on driving female market share and advancing women's leadership with the company.

Customer Advocacy

The relationships we build with our customers allow us to deliver sustainable, innovative solutions that meet their needs. Part of this is providing our customers with information and education – in our stores and online – that will enable them to make more sustainable choices.

Community Relations

Our strategy for connecting with communities is based on our company's value of "unleashing the power of our people." Best Buy encourages employees to be actively involved in improving the communities where they live and work. Local giving takes many forms, but the goal is to promote leadership and growth in employees by encouraging them to identify community needs and volunteer their time with organization they believe make the most impact.

We support the communities where we do business through:

  • Local community grants, store donations and sponsoring events that serve a variety of causes identified by our local employees, globally
  • Volunteerism, more than 21,000 Best Buy employees logged more than 125,000 hours, which translated to 2,328 Tag Team Awards (one award for every 40 hours of volunteerism) totaling more than $2.5 million distributed to non-profit organizations in communities across the world
  • Our United Way program and disaster relief through our global partnerships with the Red Cross and Mercy Corps
  • @15 is Best Buy's social change program directed by and for teens. @15 gives teens a platform to voice their opinions and supports their development.

Ethical Supply Chain

We have an extensive and collaborative process to ensure good labor practices for workers in our supply chain through our vendor/supplier agreements, third-party manufacturing audit process and our training and remediation efforts. In 2009, we joined the Global Social Compliance Programme, a coalition of industry partners and NGOs aimed at increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the audit process and remediation across the industry.

Environmental Stewardship – Greener Together™

We set goals for our own operational carbon footprint and we work with customers every day to help them make more sustainable choices. We reached our original goal – an 8 percent reduction per U.S. retail square foot – three years in advance of the 2012 target date.

We operate the most comprehensive recycling program in retail. In fiscal 2010, we helped to prevent more than 140 million pounds of appliances and electronics from ending up in landfills around the world. We have set a goal to collect 1 billion pounds in the next five years.

We were the first to hold an ENERGY STAR® 3.0 rating for our entire line of Insignia LCD TVs. We will continue to seek out and endorse new and emerging technologies that help our customers live more sustainable lives, including electric vehicles and home automation controls that help customers better understand and improve their consumption habits.

Strategic Social Initiatives

Three of the most strategically significant social initiatives at Best Buy are electronics recycling, our @15 program, and our locally-empowered community giving programs.

Electronics Recycling

Recycling is an area where Best Buy believes we can make a large impact. Our goal is simply to connect customers and employees with easy options for recycling and reducing waste.

In fiscal 2010, we expanded our recycling program by adding an everyday in-store recycling option across the U.S., creating the most convenient and comprehensive solution for customers to dispose of their appliances and electronics. With this recycling program in place, we have set an aggressive goal of recycling 1 billion pounds of consumer products.

In addition to the in-store "take back" program in which we accept products such as TVs, DVD players, computers, printers, and other small electronics for recycling – most for free, Best Buy's U.S. stores offer more recycling and reuse options that any other retailer:

U.S. Best Buy stores have free kiosks, just inside the door, for people to drop off inkjet cartridges, rechargeable batteries, CDs/DVDs and gift cards.

Generally, we will remove an old TV or appliance from a customer's home for free when a replacement Best Buy product is delivered or installed by Geek Squad® or Best Buy® Home Delivery.'

Without a purchase, for a minimal fee, Best Buy will remove up to two TVs or appliances from a person's home for recycling.  Our Best Buy Trade-In program allows customer to trade their used product for a Best Buy gift card worth the value of the item.

@15

Fiscal 2010 marked the second year of @15, Best Buy's community giving program directed by and towards teens. Teen voices and perspectives are at the heart of @15's mission – to recognize, understand and fuel their power to contribute and connect to our world.

Teens have always been a focus at Best Buy. They influence our company as consumers, as current and future employees and as contributors to the communities where we do business. They are early adopters, highly informed and heavy users of today's connected-world technologies. Their expertise and input is vital to ensure that our organization continues to growth and thrive. Here are some highlights of the @15 program:

at15.com: At the core of Best Buy's @15 program is at15.com, a free online community built with teens, for teens. The website is where teens can voice their opinions on issues, participate in polls or nominate their school for awards. In fiscal 2010, over 175,000 teens have become members of at15.com.

@15 Exchange: Teens can earn points on at15.com for responding to surveys, posting a blog entry and more. Quarterly teens can allocate points they have earned to non-profits that support teens. In fiscal 2010, members directed $1 million of Best Buy's philanthropic budget to 16 non-profit organizations.

@15 Scholarships: Students in grades 9-12 may apply for a $1,000 scholarship for post-secondary study based on their grades, community involvement and/or work history. In fiscal 2010, 1,000 scholarships were awarded totaling $1 million. Since its inception in 1999, more than $17.5 million in scholarship dollars have been awarded to more than 13,000 eligible students.

@15 Community Impact Challenge: This program seeks teens that are ready to change their communities through their own sustainable social ventures. Each team is provided with coaching in grassroots marketing as they compete for five $5,000 grants and five $1,500 grants. @15 members vote for the ventures they believe are most deserving of grants. A total of 15 finalists are selected based on the potential for community impact and long-term sustainability.

Locally Powered Community Giving Programs

Best Buy is committed to supporting our employee's efforts to strengthen, serve, and understand their local communities' needs. When our employees volunteer their leadership, expertise and time, Best Buy provides Tag Team Awards to nonprofit organizations to recognize and reward employee service. In addition to our U.S. Community Grants program, a local grant initiative that empowers U.S. teams to decide how Best Buy Children's Foundation funds are used in their local area.

Tag Team Awards: U.S. employees who choose to volunteer are asked to track their hours, and, after 40 hours of volunteerism, are eligible to receive a Tag Team Award which provides a cash donation to the nonprofit with which they volunteer. Best Buy employees logged more than 124,500 volunteer hours in fiscal 2010, which translated to 2,303 Tag Team Awards totaling more than $2.5 million.

U.S. Community Grants: The program objectives are to encourage strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations that empower teens to excel in school, engage in their communities and develop leadership skills, support comprehensive local business growth plans with resources to fund nonprofits, inspire brand and customer loyalty by strengthening communities, and engage employees in local decision making to impact skill development, retention and morale.

We believe the most effective sustainability strategies are those tied to a company's overall business strategies. To get a clear view of the areas where Best Buy can make the most meaningful impact and a plan for driving results we've worked with an industry-leading company, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). In collaboration with BSR, we analyzed how our business practices intersect with sustainability opportunities. We are also looking at external trends through research and interviews with key stakeholders. We believe there is a strong alignment between the company strategy and our current sustainability programs. We also see the potential for further integrating the two through the development of new products and services that meet our business objectives and help address social and environmental challenges. Some examples of our current alignment include:

Our recycling program aligns with our customer–centric business model that aims to meet customer needs "end-to-end"

We believe women are currently underrepresented in our customer base and our women's leadership forum (Wolf @ Best Buy) helps address this gap by working with women (both employees and customers) to make Best Buy a better place for women to work and shop

Teens are critical to Best Buy's success – they are our employees and some of our most loyal customers. Our philanthropy program , @15, aims to further build our relationship with youth while at the same time providing teens with an opportunity to learn, lead and drive social change.

Executive Leadership

Leaders across the Best Buy enterprise are actively engaging in our corporate stewardship activities. In fact, numerous leaders played a significant role in the completion of our fiscal 2010 annual sustainability report highlighting the achievements and challenges facing Best Buy. Here are some examples of how our corporate leaders participate in the Best Buy's stewardship activities:

On June 24, 2009, Best Buy welcomed our new CEO, Brian J. Dunn. Brian is passionate about Best Buy's role in preserving our planet and connecting with the people that make Best Buy a success. Given that Brian has teenage children, he has been a big supporter of our @15 program and often highlights the programs work when speaking publically. He has made it clear that corporate responsibility will continue to be a major priority for the company under his leadership.

While Brad Anderson was CEO, he declined to receive stock options and requested they be used to fund a reward for extraordinary performance for employees who were not eligible to receive stock options. When Brad retired in June 2009, the Brad Anderson Stock Award program was created to honor his contributions, values-based leadership, and commitment to Best Buy and its employees.

Several senior leaders are involved in our eleven U.S. Employee Business Networks, groups are based on an interest in and support for a common dimension of diversity such as age, race, gender or sexual orientation. There are over 100 EBN chapters in our corporate offices and in our retail field organization – thousands of employees are involved in these networks.

  • Susan Grafton, VP, CONTROLLER
  • Liz Haesler, VP, MERCH & GLOBAL VENDOR CAPABILITY
  • Teresa Iglesias-Solomon, VP, SEGMENT LEAD
  • Barry Judge, VP EXEC, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
  • Julie Owen, VP SR, CONNECTED WORLD STRATEGY
  • Tim Sheehan, VP EXEC, ENTERPRISE RETAIL OPERATIONS
  • Julie St.Marie, DIR SR, NEW FORMAT TEAM LEADER
  • John Thompson, VP SR, GENERAL MANAGER DOTCOM
  • JD Wilson, VP SR, SERVICES CAPABILITY

The Women's Leadership Forum (WOLF @ Best Buy) is an employee consumer network that focuses on driving female market share and advancing women's leadership within the company. Leaders include:

  • Liz Haesler, VP, MERCH & GLOBAL VENDOR CAPABILITY
  • Mary Stoddart, VP, TERRITORY GM