CINCINNATI—Cintas Corp. announced its ambition to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.
The company is also in the midst of a comprehensive, enterprise-wide review of its business model as it relates to environmental, social and governance (ESG) opportunities, improvements, and efficiencies. Cintas has been built on sustainable business practices, and the continuous improvement of its sustainability measures has been key to the company’s operational success over the years.
As its business review continues for the next 12 to 18 months, Cintas expects to better define its ESG journey, including identifying strategies to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions and potential avenues to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions from its supply chain. The review will also focus on opportunities to further reduce its overall environmental impact through continued reductions in energy, water, raw materials, and waste throughout its business.
“Cintas was founded on a sustainable business model and has grown to a $7-plus billion-dollar company by recycling, reducing, and reusing our products and materials for our customers, and helping them reduce their environmental impact. Our corporate culture is based on doing what’s right and challenging ourselves to be better, so we view announcing our ambition to reach Net Zero GHG emissions by 2050 as a natural extension of our culture and how we conduct our business,” said Todd Schneider, Cintas President and CEO. “We believe that climate change is a real issue, and that as a good corporate citizen, we must actively engage in activities and initiatives that help reduce our impact on the environment. We understand that reaching Net Zero GHG emissions by 2050 is ambitious given our business and industry, but we are committed to doing our part to innovate and explore new technologies that will be necessary in this journey.
‘We’ll Need to Think Differently’
“We continually develop and implement new processes to reduce our energy and water consumption while still maintaining our industry-leading quality and service. Our Net Zero ambition will challenge our entire company to think even more critically about our business and create more sustainable means to help our customers get Ready for the Workday. To successfully achieve our ambition to reach Net Zero GHG emissions by 2050, we’ll need to think differently about our own operational processes—including the energy sources we use and our delivery fleet—and we’ll need the support and buy-in of our supply chain,” Schneider said.
The company’s sustainable business practices date back to the company’s origins in 1929 when Doc and Amelia Farmer gathered dirty shop rags from local businesses that otherwise would’ve been thrown away, brought them home to wash them and sold the clean rags back to companies in the Cincinnati area. As the company grew, their grandson, Richard “Dick” Farmer, created a burgeoning uniform rental operation in 1959 that provided an easy, affordable, and sustainable option for companies to outfit their employees.
Further business line expansions under CEOs Bob Kohlhepp (1996-2004) and Scott Farmer (2004-2021) into facility services, first aid and safety, and fire protection deepened the company’s sustainable business model. These provided product offerings based on reusing and recycling goods and reducing the use of natural resources, as well as the development of products and services to help customers keep their own facilities, employees, and facilities cleaner, safer, and healthier.
Cintas’ ambition to achieve Net Zero GHG emissions by 2050 builds on the company’s history of demonstrating environmental impact improvements year over year.
Between the fiscal years 2016 and 2020, Cintas improved its water efficiency rate by 16 percent while increasing its sales by almost 48 percent in that same time frame. In the last three years, the company has reduced its energy consumption by almost 13 percent as sales rose by 10 percent. Further, Cintas’ laundry process is the most efficient in the industry, while traditional at-home laundry processes consume 55 percent more water and 204 percent more energy than Cintas’ process.
Business Review Began in 2019
Cintas’ organizational business review began in 2019 when the company implemented processes to help it start publicly reporting on its ESG priorities—including its environmental impacts—and now continues with due diligence and the analysis of historic data.
The results of Cintas’ ongoing business review will guide its ESG journey, and the company has established the structure and processes to take it into the future. In August 2021, Cintas appointed Christy Nageleisen as its new Vice President of ESG and Chief Compliance Officer, and re-organized several departments to create a new Risk and Compliance Department. This new department will work cross-functionally under Nageleisen as she develops and leads the company’s ESG-related strategy, activities, monitoring and compliance. This strategy is expected to include further environmental impact improvements, as well as opportunities related to diversity and inclusion, human capital, safety and health, and governance objectives, among other areas.
In November 2021, Cintas expects to release its 2021 ESG Report, which will further detail the company’s efforts in corporate responsibility, environmental stewardship, social initiatives, and its governance strategy.
More information about Cintas’ history of sustainability is available at cintas.com.