Home Improvement with John & Dave, Hour 1, 10/17/20
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Well until home improvement when John Dave with answers to all your home improvement questions sponsored by Home Depot Lennox Charlotte Comfort systems a cost heating and cooling and dry pro basement systems on news talk seven ten and ninety nine tree. TELL YOU PT Good morning, everybody. Welcome to home improvement with John and Dave. I'm John Gordon with the Home Depot my brother David took some time off this week. Certainly well, deserved time off but you're not stuck just with me. I've been I've been threatening to do this for a while we have for your listening pleasure and really for a lot of great information. The. Chief Sustainability Officer from the Home Depot Mr Ron Jarvis Good Morning Ron and you with us. Oh yes. John Good Morning. How are you? I'm very fine. Thank you for joining us at the crack of dawn. My pleasure. Trust me I I. Suspect you're up at this hour most days anyway. Am I right? Oh. Yes. Yes I think we're all early risers at Home Depot. Kinda Kinda helps well, Ron thanks for being with us. folks. We're going to do a show David and I've been talking about doing this because. Sustainability we David and I have talked about it and really practical terms just being a good steward of your environment is an important concept but we wanted to have ron on and and it's my fault shame on me took me a long time to just get an organized outlined together for on the minute identities like sure. I can do this. and. Then it was just just getting schedules right so but we'll take regular calls at seven, four, five, seven eleven ten but we it's not it's not often we get to have Really, informative guests who live in the honest-to-goodness real world with respect to sustainability and and really that's what Ron Brings US animal. Let him talk in a second here, but I think usually in this first second, we just try to lay semi ideas out there for Y'all to think about and certainly to spur some questions, we'll take questions we got questions about. What's going on on the roof or the basement or in in the plumbing? Happy to have that you know usual lines a seven, zero, four, five, seven eleven ten but also will have just an incredible resource in Ron and we'll talk about a lot of different topics but Ron, maybe just take a second and share with our listeners the the Ron. Jarvis. Bio. Well it's it's great bio because it's starts in north. Carolina. And I grew up in North Wilkspur North Carolina, which is just north of Charlotte. an hour and fifteen minutes. And with, NC state. Went to community college. Before I went to NC state played basketball, it will community college. you know One of our competitors lows is home town was north works for North Carolina. So work there part time started out driving a forklift there. and. My mom was the assistant manager at the north. Express stores. So it just made sense that after I graduated from NC state that you know go back to Lowe's and I did and and actually loved a great company. And was there for eleven. Years went to Home Depot and Nineteen, ninety, four I was a when I left. Lowe's a merchant a buyer. went to Home Depot as a product merchandise manager and I've had most all departments inside of of the company as. Either a merchant visual merchandise manager or VP over those departments. So I understand the categories understand the factories, the issues, the factories go go through and the great thing about being a merchant at home depot you you travel the world looking at products and when you travel the world, you just don't see the factories. You see the country's you see the people. And you know you know the issues of the world you're not reading it out of a book. and. Then in two thousand, Home Depot was having some protest from. Environmental Groups about our whip purchasing policy. And I was asked by one of the founders at the time was named Pat Faira. John who you know. I. Love Well. He asked me to move to Atlanta from Tampa which was where a divisional office was and hit up this issue and and try to resolve. In the correct way. Concerns we had around the would purchasing policy coming from. non-government environmental groups, and some of the other social green. companies. So I did and I have been an environmental every since that was two thousand I've had many jobs since then. But it's always been bolted to me as something that I do. And So now I brought to do sustainability es g, which is environmental social governance for the company fulltime in all countries. So we have stores in Canada Mexico us. And then we have suppliers and buying offices located throughout the world. And also today. My group runs the. Audits Factory so If you're a manufacturing manufacture products for home depot overseas. My group goes in we look at the factory we do audits we do. Social. Audits. Environmental. Audits. Can make sure the factories are treating the people the way they should be paying fair wages shipping good product although. So that's pretty much the bio and Happy happy to be on your show. We're glad to have. Iran and somewhere in there I believe I actually reported to you. So. So let's just be clear if I say anything. Nice about you today you don't write my reviews I. Have No incentive other than to speak the truth. Even, back then were the same way. For. All right. Well, we'RE GONNA WE'RE GONNA come up on a break here, and so we'll take it. But I really do want to do welcome you to ask questions especially as you try to make decisions about purchasing product what Ron brings as you heard is a very holistic look. But also what I've always respected about ron a very practical approach It's not pie in the sky. It's this is right. This is wrong. This will help this will not and so we'll open lines for you. They're open, seven, zero, four, five, seven, seven, ten we'll talk to Ron. We'll talk about what's important to you would do all of that when we return to home improvement with John and Dave. Welcome back this is home and the Jonah Dave. I'm John Gordon with the Home Depot our guests. This morning is Ron. Jarvis Chief Sustainability Officer for the Home Depot you can call us at seven four, five, seven eleven ten. We'll talk about what's important you but we're going to focus our attention this morning a lot around sustainability ron thanks for being with us again generally appreciate your time and your information. John Thank you. Thank you opportunity. So so run in well in a sentence or two what How people think about sustainability or what his sustainability? Sustainability is. Something that we all. Live with. It's all something we all should strive to improve, and there's an kind of an overused definition that it's providing today's generation without harming future generations. So how do we stay warm? How do we create clothing? How do we manufacture Food How do we enjoy life? Of without harming future generations now, if you look at what? We've done for probably over the past hundred and fifty years. Is You know as soon as the industrial revolution started and we started doing stuff. And we started taking a tremendous amount of stuff out of out of the ground. So you think of minerals and oil and gas. that's what we've reached and that probably is going to harm future generations maybe even harming us. uh-huh. So we we have to look at things like that and say you know, let's let's look it lands of sustainability and is there a better way to do? It. So That that all makes sense to me and and really David and are ignorant little world. Say that in terms of environmental stewardship, right. So what's happening in our world an environment in the broadest sense of the term you have to be a good steward but. As as the chief Sustainability Officer of. Of the Home Depot how do you? I mean, how do you take a hundred billion dollar company and think about sustainability? WanNa I cook this. Took over this position as far as leading environmental social concerns. In two thousand. It was. It was easier because you know we had one focus it was would perch seeing? Are we destroying the world's forest? Are we the biggest contributor to the. Of. Old Growth. Lever questions at rest. So my focus was very narrow. and as soon as I finish that and took about two years for us to you know create the solution to that issue. Then they said, okay. Then you just run all sustainability for Home Depot class and then I say classic Home Depot. And at that point, it's like eating bon-bons with issues and there's you can think of the stuff that that was coming our way. We still had concerns around you know goes around Vancouver Island. You look at invasive plants. I mean draft through the Blue Ridge Parkway and you'll see invasive plants that are that are up there. You know bird droppings that create growth dozen basit plants. we get calls from communities I got a call from the Manhattan. I think it's a long island's women's garden. Club. Where they were GonNA protest depot because of the noise made by leaf blowers. And they were tired of getting woke up in the morning with these loud leaf blowers and they wanted home depot to do something about it since we're the ones selling them. the colony collapse disorder from honeybees, glue traps all of those I mean there's a thousand touch points that come in to Home Depot. And I tell people I said you you throw you know six tennis balls at me. I'm GONNA hit two or three of them back. You throw a thousand and probably just GONNA duck. I looked at this and say, we have to get our hands around. These issues to where it makes sense. So as I started studying them I said, let's just go back in the old fashioned home depot away start at the bottom and work your way up through the issues. And I, you know what? Really are the issues and so I broke everything down and it it comes out to where it still true today. There are basically five stories. That every issue that comes to people around sustainability fall into. And if those issues, it's carbon emissions. Chemical. Impact for chemical exposure. Deforestation. Water use. And the fifth one group together as waste and recycle. And so once I formalize those groups I, realize that you know whoever's bring issue in I mean whatever the concerns are as they bring them in. I go back out to talk about some of the ones of colony collapse disorder with be that's chemicals chemical exposure. you know looking at the Combustible Engines, all of that carbon emissions. So once I started putting things into these buckets then I said now home depot has to understand not only ourselves and our operations. What is our impact in each one of these five? and. What are the industries contribute to each one of these fives because we walk into a Home Depot store if you turn left and lumber department turn rights, the Garden Center. In you've got live goods to. Trees dead trees that are now lumber and everything in the middle cabinets carpet paint rope, all these product categories, and when you put those into those buckets, you say there's tremendous thousands of suppliers behind the scenes. What is their environmental environmental-impact? So that's that's how we we break it down to those five categories and that is the only to to control it and understand it, and then you know what you're impacts on and some of these impacts from home, depot. are much greater than others I mean if you look at. Another company to say as a Financial Company Bank company, a carpet company, their contribution to deforestation is relatively small. Compared to ours. So we look at these and say, where are we core or are we not core in some of these issues and the ones that were core on we try to take the lead on resolving any issues Cool. That makes sense because I think about it a lot and it is to me it's just overwhelming. I'm in the just duck category that you talked about what the tennis balls right and. And so good for you to do that. One of the things I would like to. Do though is. When we have a well informed guests, we like to try to do what I call. I don't know if that show is still on. I used to like to watch that but. What are some of the myths about sustainability? So if you talk about all these five categories. People have opinions and. And sometimes, their opinions based on misinformation. Are there some fundamental midst? This would be a good opportunity to conic debunk. Yeah there's there's a lot fundamental minutes on on both sides stuff that are you know over exaggerated on their impacts and things that are under exaggerated on intact So when I When I'm looking at myth busting, and that's probably what I spend most of my time doing. Is Yeah I I go to the two extremes are usually Two extremes when when an issue pops up and someone says your purple, it's terrible and it's destroying the earth i. have them come in and sit down and say, okay, explained to me why you think it's terrible. It's destroying the earth then I bring in the manufacture of the industry and so okay tell me why they're wrong not destroying earth. And then I go in the middle and try to find as much information as I can. To see what is what is really happening? So there's there's a lot of miss out there when it's funny I was talking to a group last week. Very highly intelligent mark marketing people. Tell happen to work for the same company I was speaking to them. And I said, so tell me when you think of environmental concerns we as humans we as Homo sapiens. What what are we doing to the earth that you think is the worst thing that we're doing. And so they you know they, I'm sure they were thinking back. What have I seem on Jatta? What else you know Google and they said plastics. and OK plastics. So plastics is the worst thing we're doing and why why plastics bad. and. They talked in minute and the consensus was was that it's in the ocean and I said so. when you look at your town that you live in look at restaurants when you go into a restaurant and pay strivers plastic that's a good thing to go. Yeah. That's a great thing and I said in one the reasons greats because it's helping you eliminate plastic into the ocean. And they said, yes and I said okay so. A plastic going into the ocean what percentage of that comes from America comes from the United States. and. They talk a minute and they came back and they said somewhere between seventy five and eighty, five percent. And that's okay. That sounds fair I mean we use a lot of plastics for the second largest plastic manufacturing country China's number one, number two. So it probably makes sense that we're eighty five percent of the plastic in the ocean. As the answer is we're less than two. So. If you think of all the classics into the ocean and all the things that we're doing to chase the different balls in sustainability. We definitely need to make sure that we manage plastic waste. But we're not the main contributors to I think there's ten rivers, ten different rivers, eight and Asia to in Africa. That create almost ninety percent of the plastic in the oceans. Those are where our efforts need to go to. If we're GonNa do something, let's put together teams that can go over there and help you know the communities manage their way. So they don't throw them into the into the roads into the streams at ends up in the rivers that takes to the ocean. And so it's it's things like that. Where people here here part of the trees you know the truth is we say. Hey hang tight for one second. We're up against a hard break and I wanNA talk global. Impact Folks Home Improvement John be back right after these messages. Welcome back this is home improvement with John and day I'm Gordon with the Home Depot our guest this morning while David is out is Ron Jarvis Ron chief sustainability officer for the Home Depot. A monumental task that I would argue is masterfully ron thanks sorry to interrupt you there on the thing that kind of blows my mind actually but it it all is. Part of what you say is is the myth piece I. Kind of cut you off as you were talking about the fact that most of the plastic issue comes from is a global thing not just a a myopic. United States thing it sounds like. Yes. It's definitely it's definitely a global issue and for those that have just joined the we're talking about plastic in the oceans. And don't the contribution of of the North America basically the United States to that is less than two percent. Now, that doesn't mean that we say it's not our problem because it's less than two percent. It means that we take better care of our coastal communities because that's usually where most of the plastic from America gets into the ocean where along the beaches and things blow off into the into the ocean So it's and I was saying earlier, there's ten rivers eight in Asia to Africa that contribute about eight five to ninety percent of the plastic and the oceans, and then you have companies we're talking about myth busting. We had a company to come came to Home Depot and They were. Trying, to to get us to to buy into this product that was oceans plastic. And they were probably ten people sitting in room listening to this pitch about oceans plastic and and people want to buy a product made of oceans plastics, get it out of the ocean turning something useful use it for use it stick it into a circular economy. So it's here for a while. and. They've been talking for probably twenty minutes and it dawned on me that they were talking about. Plastic that actually came from the ocean but oceans plastics, not oceans plastic. So I asked him, I said this just curiosity how many people in this room listening to this pitch? Think that this plastic comes from the ocean. And everybody raised their hand and I turned to the presenter and I said it doesn't doesn't. He goes well no not really it's recycled program from cities that are close to the ocean. So Wilmington Miami Savannah New York La San Francisco any recycle program that you have close to the city's can be called oceans plastic. And I go. This is just deceiving I said we're hundred knocking to. Advertise this as oceans plastic, we can call it. Coach. But Not Oceans? Plastic. I think that was the thing that always frustrated me And please don't take offense to this listeners. 'cause it's a serious topic but but I I my family I'm either cursed or blessed a lot of the people in my family are scientists. In one manner or another, and they really are you know in God we trust all others bring data, but the topic of gluten-free comes up. And and and it reminds me also of sustainability or green. It's like people say things are call things like. I mean I want you to know right now. I'm speaking into a gluten free microphone. It's like, what's your point right and so when I say myth busting, that's kind of stuff I want to understand I want our listeners understand because I think that as a general rule, the kinds of questions that we get from our listeners and the kinds of things that they do are are really about getting informed or or being informed in an acting accordingly. So I appreciate that you said something. You said something there that I wanted to probe a little bit about though you said. And by the way Ron Interrupt me at any point say John I want to go back to this topic are really want to make sure I get this topic because there's we we only have two hours. It seems like a long time, but it'll go fast. So. Please direct me as you want to but You talked about a circular circular something. Clear economy, right what what is that? Yes surfing economy is when you design products with the production, the US and the disposal in mind. And because it's you know if you think for one hundred and fifty years, we've taking all this other grand resources out of the earth copper minerals. Crude oil gas all these things that we've taken out that were below ground resources. So you can imagine what we have created our above ground resources are huge think of all the landfills think of the waste think of the trash trucks you see going down the road. If we could and we will get there where we create a circular economy where you know that your iphone that was manufactured when it goes in to after you cycle. It'll be dismounted and you know product will go into this one. This will go onto the other and. Will be reused. Now we will get there s a society. It'll take us a while and there there's things that we're doing. We've we've got a program on people that we're just not. So proud of there is if you think of every Home Depot that you see whatever community you live in Matthews Pineville Cornelius wherever it is. As you go through the Home Depot and you look in the back of the store, you'll see big bundles of plastic. Every bit of the plastic at Home Depot is bundled and taken to one of their distribution centers and then sent to a company called treks decking. And trek takes our plastic mix it with wood chips and turns it into this beautiful composite tracks decking and tobacco is to sell. So, that's part of the circular economy that is working. So. Yeah. When I, talk about their economy, we're grabbing for bits and pieces all over saying how do we create this puzzle connect the dots to where the resources are above ground and we start utilizing waste and stuff that we've manufacturers years. Is Amazing we're going to be up against a break here and so we'll take it but I wanna I wanna I wanNA touch back on that a little bit. I. Really WanNa, talk about how we can point folks who are listening to two somewhere to see actually what APP, what happens and what's been built into Kinda give hope because the question that I want to answer there's well, there's a thousand of, but I. WanNa spend a little bit of time on product if we can't, and then I really want to address a fundamental question that says can addressing the practical make a difference and I know you'll have some thoughts on that. So we're gonNA take a break whereas seven, four, five, seven, seven, ten gives colleagues got questions for Ron or other questions, and we'll tackle all of them when we return to home improvement with John Dave. Welcome back this is home improvement with John Dave I'm John Gordon with the Home Depot our guest this morning while Mr David takes a well-deserved break is Ron. Jarvis Rana's achieve sustainability officer for the Home Depot. It's a monumental task arguably done. In a fashion that is monumentally awesome ron thanks for being with us this morning I appreciate Tom on Saturdays are precious. So thanks for spending it with us. Thank you. John. This is definitely my pleasure and it shows that's that's what's cool about this. So I, I want I want to. I just my brain is going everywhere. I'll stick to our of our outline of the best I can but I wanted to ask one question because this just starts banging around the back of my brain is 'cause I listened to what you're talking about. I think about the company that we work for and its magnitude size scope, and as you said, you know think about the impact. But is it can can is there hope I mean are you optimistic or pessimistic? Ken Can just do in practical things without going crazy can that make a difference? Yes, it can and It's in I have four kids so I look at what their life is going to be. It is like and what's the impact and the the best thing that ever happened in sustainability and the best thing is probably ever happened to to humans. Is when sustainability starting becoming a competitive measurement. So think of at home. Depot retailers. Even North Carolina. And we have to lobby full. Of of people that are coming into pitch their product from all four corners of the globe. And so if you're selling what is picking item if you're you're selling hammers. And a company merchant a buyer has an opportunity to buy from fifteen different hammer manufacturers. Now they're gonNA listen to price they're, GONNA, listen to quality they're going to listen to what type of distribution model you have but somewhere in that deck now, which used to not be there twenty years ago. But somewhere in their concern presenting their their product to the merchant is a stage on a page on sustainability. And on that page, they'll say. We are reducing our carbon emissions were buying into renewables. We are recycling parts of the metal that's going into the head we've moved from X. Two X. for the handle the calls its more sustainable and as I saw that transition you know starting around two thousand, six, thousand, seven. And getting more prominent today. I've said this great because it's no longer US pushing suppliers to do stuff suppliers are coming in and saying, let us tell you why we're better than the person that was just here, and that's not just in home improvement industry. It's happening in banks where companies come in and say you know this is our system. Our system uses less energy. We have servers and places where the grid is cleaner than other other. That's a whole different topic that we should get into as the communist of of grids and how people should look at that. And the energy grids but that's my hope and I see that getting better and better. Across the industries where companies are putting are indeed research and development dollars into doing the right thing. And it's interesting because we used to and we still do put a lot of emphasis on certifications. So we started a program called equal options in two thousand, seven's seven, which gives customer insight into products that have less than impact on the environment than standard. Products. So. Part of that was you had to be certified Green Guard gold. Cradle to cradle at that see certified would energystar Watterson and it's today it's about almost eleven billion dollars. So it's over ten percent of ourselves. What I would find is would walk stores to talk about these products is walking past ninety percent of the products to look at the good certified products. So a few years ago, I got some of the merchants together and I said here's what we're going. Do stop buying green products to stop. Now. Let's go green the products that we buy OSCO. At Home Depot, we have a parallel path we still by as much green certified products that we can but we don't ignore the other products that don't have a certification. We look at those and say what are the impacts is it a certain chemical? Is the way ship is containers shifted Styrofoam how do we reduce each one of these every day to have continual improvement And you know what's funny when you say that reminds me because you know you've got to folks on your team art and Logan and I i. they'll tell you that I'm kind of a pest, but I have a very large customer. In single family. Residence. And they asked me they are very focused on providing energy efficient products in their homes water. You know favorite devices and things like that and when you what you just said rings too because she asked me, she said, well, which of the Faucet should I buy to make sure that it's a water saver faucet or which are the shower head should I buy to make sure to waterfalls of water? You know savers it's. LEGIT and I said. Anyone you want. Because you greened that entire category, right? Yeah. And that's and if I'll tell a quick story walking with eight environmental reporter in Chicago a few years ago. I took them over to the new low flow toilets at home depot had, and so we had probably twenty five toilets on the run and I said look at this. It's beautiful. It's priced at eight dollars and it is low flow only uses it that time like one point two gallons warm side it's like two five. And he looked at me and he goes your Home Depot. Why aren't they all though? And I go what the heck he is. One hundred percent right came back. Got Got with the the MVP over plumbing and said John John Wicks. Let's let's look at this. Can we do this and within probably two years? Every toilets low flow. So when you go to buy toilet, you're buying Kohler if you're buying American standard Glacier Bay as you look at those, they're all. We did the same thing with paint. We took pains from regular VOC's too low voc paints, showerheads, Bass faucets all of those are the standard that is you know the best in the industry and it's 'cause I I look at it and say customers shouldn't have to stand in the aisle of a home improvement store and choose between good and evil. Somebody should be doing that for them and not make it to where okay. Now I'm buying this product is. Supply water you know the new shower heads that are low flow feel just like the old. jeepers so that so that's i. think that's a piece that I wanted that the reason I wanted folks to hear you ron and we've already made clear that you don't write my reviews and so I can speak the truth without having to feel like, I'm you know Anyway, the thing that I have appreciated as I watched all the different ways or pieces of our business that you have approach is precisely what you just said. It's like there was a very practical fundamental approach to this. You said, Hey, here's the far one extreme. Here's the other extreme. How do we get to the middle? Here's a product class why make people think and so I think when when I asked the question is practical does practical make a difference I? I kind of knew the answer was yes. But I really wanted to get that because I want our listeners to believe and to think that that practical is as powerful maybe that could be a marketing thing like alliteration. But. So when I say that, are there other product categories that that get your focus when you think about sustainability? Are there some places that you'd like to make you know? Wear known Yes. Enough you know we spend a tremendous amount of time still little but not to the degree we used to you know in the aisles walking the store and how the answers. For any of the questions that we have is not in a book, it's not in the office it's not in meeting it standing in the aisle in front of the product. And saying, Oh, I see why this works or I see this doesn't work. And so we we we look at those questions to what's really happening. I know that we have to address it. From. What's happening inside of the store? And That's how we pulled up the trump looking at the product and say, what is the biggest impact here? In, how do we resolve? That makes sense I. we're going to be maybe a minute or so away from a heartbreak at the top of the hour here when we come back around I do WanNa talk about. I want to take a deep dive into that circular economy that you talked about for one second, and then I want WanNa shamelessly have you helped me get people pointed to that video that I watched that actually made my jaw drop about what's actually going on and what happens to take care of those above ground resources that you talked about because I think it will give people ideas. About things to do waste of a haven in their individual lives and so I definitely want to talk about that. And then well, there's a pile of things that we in an a list of questions that we've talked about. But I do want to talk about some really practical things that that can be just maybe some fun facts or some things for people to think about that will prompt them to behave in a particular way as they think and behave as consumers so. John got what things that we we look at it as if you WanNa, reduce your impact on your house, think about what you're doing in your house. So it's on a weekly basis. What are you bringing into your house for? What are you using? And that's where you're environmental-impact is so it's pretty simple. We could talk about that as well. I perfect Segue we're gonNA, take a break approval with China Dave. We'll be back after these important messages. Hunger in every zip code in our area giant and ninety per seven that drive are proud to be working together to tackle food insecurity in the DMV hundreds of children and adults face coudn't security every day in two thousand, nineteen, giant donated two and a half million pounds of food to the capital Area Food Bank and over five point five, million pounds to all giant food feeding America Food Bank partners join giant and the drive as we raise awareness and money to feed children and adults in our communities.