We use our intranet, The Thread, to communicate with Associates about our environmental sustainability initiatives, whether they are global corporate efforts or more regional success stories. In the U.S., we have hosted events at our home offices in which local vendors and TJX experts educate Associates on the Company’s environmental sustainability initiatives, as well as with regard to what they personally could do to help the environment.
In our U.S. home offices, we are working to reduce paper where we can. Our Associates have helped avoid the destruction of about 12,000 trees annually through our paperless paycheck program. Additionally, our efforts to convert procurement contracts to electronic distribution and signature has helped avoid about 1,500 pounds of waste. We are continuously looking at ways that we can reduce the Company’s consumption of paper, more efficiently deliver information to our Associates, and ultimately reduce our environmental impacts. In Europe, our internal communications channels regularly share environmental achievements on our digital screens and through articles published regularly online and in our magazine.
In Canada, our regional Go Green Committee has a strong commitment and robust strategy around Associate engagement on environmental sustainability topics. Each year, the team produces events and educational materials that help demonstrate how Associates can incorporate sustainable values into their lives. It also manages the "Turn Over a New Leaf" program, which encourages Associates to take sustainable actions in the workplace or at home. In the last five years, "Turn Over a New Leaf" has netted over 81,000 pledges from Associates to implement environmentally friendly practices. In 2018, Associates focused their pledges on reducing their diet-related environmental impacts by increasing their consumption of plant-based foods.
Associates also volunteered their time on various local conservation projects in the year, including a park clean up, rejuvenating the pollinator garden at our headquarters, adopting a bee hive, and creating a beautiful patio vegetable and herb garden. Other key successes in the year included the introduction of an onsite, eco-friendly dry cleaner; swap and reuse events for formal wear, back to school supplies, and Halloween costumes; and our annual sustainable merchandise showcase events, EcoFest and the Holiday Market.
EcoFest is TJX Canada’s annual sustainable celebration that features special guests, eco-friendly vendors, and food offerings. At the 2018 EcoFest celebration – our 9th annual – over 800 Associates joined in the fun, enjoying samples of eco-friendly products from more than 40 vendors. To continue inspiring Associates year round, we also host EcoFest pop-up shops that feature eco-friendly vendors that Associates can shop and learn from.