Established in Hampton, Iowa, in 1959, Kum & Go is a fourth-generation, family-owned convenience store chain focused on providing a fresh perspective by meeting customers where they are and offering them the choices they deserve. The company employed 4,987 Associates in 391 stores across Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming by the end of 2022.
In 2022, we surveyed our Associates, in the field and store support center to get their feedback which was used to create Kum & Go’s 2030 CSR Vision. 1,460 Associates completed the survey representing all positions across the organization. Not uncommon to Associate surveys, when asked what Kum & Go should focus on, Associate Financial Wellness ranked the highest. Waste Reduction was ranked the highest under the Planet pillar, followed by Clean Water.
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Labor markets continued to provide challenges as turnover and retention placed added pressure on the business. Thankfully, our investments in our Associates began to pay off, as we reduced turnover and were able to improve retention in our stores. Investments into wages, time away from work adjustments, and additional Associate friendly enhancements led the way in this effort, making Kum & Go a preferred place to work and establish a career. Our investment in full-time, consistent schedules continued with the launch of our new food program in the Des Moines, IA market, providing additional opportunities for a more consistent work-life balance.
Building a community where all Associates felt included, Kum & Go invested in the DSM USA 4 Equity Collective were local organizations compiled a playbook of DEI best practices and examples of success which was made publicly available to the community in November 2022. CEO Tanner Krause was one of the organizations tri chairs leading community conversations and challenging others to get involved in People First efforts.
Kum & Go continues to show up for our community in many ways including brand and nonprofit sponsorships and cultural events. We are rooted in our purpose to “Make Days Better by Connecting with People.”
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Kum & Go is a leader in the renewable biofuel and energy space. First offering E85 in the 1990s and E15 in 2015. Today, Kum & Go frequently builds new stores with both E85 and E15 (contains 15% ethanol) at the pump. E15 and E85 are used to describe a range of gasoline products containing higher blends of ethanol, a renewable biofuel. Similarly, B5 and B20 (contains 20% biofuel) are used to describe a range of diesel products containing biodiesel, another renewable biofuel.
In 2022, total renewable gallons of ethanol and biodiesel combined increased to 12.8% from 11.3% in 2021. This was primarily the result of rising petroleum prices and a regulatory environment in favor of E85. Fuel customers typically switch to biofuel products when competitively priced against traditional gasoline and diesel.
Kum & Go continues to accelerate its electric vehicle (EV) charging installation strategy and is seen as a leader in the space. Our stores have begun incorporating reserved parking spaces and direct current fast charging (DCFC) stations. The DCFC speeds have increased, allowing customers to garner a significant charge during a routine stop. With the EV expansions in 2022, over 8% of our stores now offer EV charging with plans to be at 10% of stores by mid-2024. In 2022, Kum & Go hosted 177,628 charging sessions which is up 99% over prior year.
Renewable gallons blended/sold
Stores with DC fast charging stations
Stores with E15
Stores with E85
Stores with biodiesel
Stores with DC fast charging stations
Efficient & Renewable Energy
In 2010, Kum & Go became the only convenience store in the world certified under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Volume Program. A total of 109 new construction projects have received certification since 2008. In 2022, we opened the first of our Bistro store design. The Bistro store is 4,000 square feet and is more energy efficient per square foot than our previous prototypes. We continue to build the Marketplace store which uses 28% less energy per square foot than our Legacy store footprint. In 2022, we continued efforts by retrofitting 34 stores to meet our goal of 100% LED. With all these retrofits, 49% of stores are 100% LED. Additionally, we converted the refrigerant in one store from 404a to 448a as a test for future conversions. This is expected to have a 10% energy reduction. These initiatives continue to improve our energy intensity—down 15% from 2018.
In December 2011, Kum & Go installed its first solar photovoltaic (PV) project on a fuel canopy expansion at Store 927 in New Castle, CO. The panels produce 4% of total electric consumption, and we reengineered our fuel canopy design to hold the weight of future solar installations. Construction on our second solar PV installation began in 2020 at Store 329 in Denver, CO, and was energized in 2021. That project is currently producing nearly 19% of the facility’s total energy demand. Our total Solar production in 2022 was 116,252 kWh. As we look ahead to 2023, we will continue to retrofit LED lighting and refrigerant conversions to 448a.
For years, Kum & Go has improved water efficiency in stores via low-flow toilets, urinals, faucets, and auto-shut-off valves. Low-impact design (LID) landscaping and smart irrigation help us reduce water use and improve water quality as it leaves our sites. Beginning in 2019 and continuing through 2022, a concerted effort was undertaken to detect and fix water-related leaks in both plumbing and irrigation that resulted in a savings of over 35.3 million gallons.
Our Marketplace footprint is more water intense than previous 5K and Legacy stores due to larger sites overall and increased area of landscaping requiring irrigation. We estimate that our new Bistro store will be at least 20% more water efficient per square foot than our Marketplace store. We look forward to measuring and sharing this data in 2023. In 2022, we continued water-efficiency projects with 61 stores installing new smart irrigation systems. With these new installations, 50% of our stores are operating on smart irrigation. Thanks to those initiatives, our water intensity improved over 2018, although up slightly in 2022 over 2021. In 2022, we achieved the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS Certification) at one of our stores in Colorado Springs. This signifies our commitment to clean water in the communities we serve. As we look ahead to 2023, we will continue our plan of installing smart irrigation systems in additional stores.
In 2022, Kum & Go diverted 34.5% of waste from landfills, up from 31.8% in 2021. The U.S. recycling industry continues to struggle, and our stores continue to receive unpredictable and uncontrolled external waste from customers. However, Kum & Go feels we have taken critical steps to increase diversion in the future. We employ a full-time Waste Reduction Specialist on our Operations team. Throughout 2021-2022, multiple waste audits confirmed that where single-stream service is offered almost all material being recycled is still corrugated cardboard. In response to this, we switched to 100% cardboard recycling to maintain diversion rates and reduce contamination.
In addition to recent waste reduction initiatives that we’ve rolled into our stores such as removing paper towels by adding energy efficient Dyson Airblades in our restrooms and bean-to-cup coffee machines that reduce waste and water usage, we’ve designated a waste reduction pilot store where we test out new initiatives. In 2022, our waste reduction store piloted a cardboard baler which makes it easier for Associates to recycle by not having to break down boxes and walk outside to the dumpster. Additionally, we installed back-of-kitchen composting to eliminate the food waste that goes to the landfill. These two initiatives are each estimated to divert 12,000 lbs annually from the landfill. Also, by collecting food waste and 100% cardboard recycling, we have reduced our weekly trash pickups from 4x’s to 2x’s a week, saving $2400 in hauling services. We began bagging our coffee grounds for customers to use in their gardens and introduced compostable bakery tissues instead of the bleached tissues commonly used. We are evaluating environmentally friendly bags to replace the single use plastic bags for our customers and look forward to piloting this in the future.
Our construction team continues to recycle materials when demolishing existing structures. They recycled and milled 2,586 tons of asphalt onsite and recycled 795 tons of concrete onsite at the city’s recycle yard. As we look ahead to 2023, we plan to install cardboard bailers in additional stores to continue our efforts to reduce our waste to the landfill.