2011 Winner - Michel Séguin
|Michel Séguin stands in front of a line of products displaying the Go Eco sticker, reminding customers
the packaging is recyclable. (Photo courtesy Michel Séguin)|
Reduce, recycle, retail?
Retail savvy runs through Michel Séguin’s blood. He is an independent Canadian Tire dealer in Laval, Que., whose father Gilles once
owned a Canadian Tire store. Both father and son also share a deep conviction about what retail can do to preserve the
environment. Gilles founded the Environment Committee for the Association des marchands Canadian Tire du Québec in 1982; under his
leadership, Canadian Tire stores started taking back used automotive oil for proper disposal
in 1992. Now his son, who has chaired the same committee for the past 11 years, has spearheaded an ambitious environmental program
that has been adopted by all 98 Canadian Tire stores in Quebec.
Launched last May, the Go Eco program aims to increase customer awareness of the importance of recycling and
properly disposing of automotive products, such as used oil, fi ters and batteries, anti-freeze
and plastic containers, so that they don’t end up in landfi lls and waterways. It
builds on existing recycling initiatives in the chain’s automotive centres, says Séguin, by engaging consumers and
For example, Go Eco labels prominently displayed on all oil and antifreeze containers,
oil-filter packaging and aerosol cans remind customers
to return used oil or empty containers to their nearest store. Sounds simple,
but the stickers are effective: after a three-month test run in 10 stores in 2010, the number of plastic oil containers
returned for recycling rose by 19 percent and the number of returned aerosol cans
jumped by 35 percent.
“We’re pleased that our promotional materials and in-store signage are encouraging
customers to contribute to the take-back program,” says Séguin, whose initiative has
earned him the 2011 3M Environmental Innovation Award, presented by The Royal
Canadian Geographical Society and 3M Canada.
Go Eco also strives for 100 percent recycling and responsible disposal of products
used in Canadian Tire automotive centres. Packaging and waste have been reduced
through bulk purchases of oil, antifreeze and windshield-washer fluid. The list of recyclables
is growing, including all scrap metal, air filters and even windshield wiper blades.
The program promotes regular maintenance of vehicles to reduce fuel consumption
The success of the Go Eco formula in Quebec has caught the attention of Canadian Tire
owners accross the country. Séguin has recently been invited to speak to Ottawaarea retailers and to sit on a
national environmental committee of Canadian Tire dealers. “If Go Eco snowballs into the other provinces, we will be
doubly proud of this program that got its start in Quebec,” says Séguin. “It would be the jewel in our crown.”