INDIANAPOLIS -- A program that offers carbon offsets for gasoline purchases is reportedly boosting a few key metrics at an Indiana convenience-store chain.
In May 2016, Ricker Oil Co. introduced the Ricker’s Replenish program with GreenPrint LLC at more than 500 pumps at its 32 Indianapolis-area Ricker’s sites. The program calculates the tailpipe emissions of every gallon and grade of fuel pumped into customers’ vehicles. GreenPrint then invests in projects that remove a corresponding amount of carbon from the atmosphere. These can include tree planting, forest preservation and solar and wind power development.
While the Ricker’s Replenish program has offset more than 46 million pounds of carbon since its launch, it has also paid a return at Ricker’s stores. Customers of the Indianapolis-area sites are making up to 15% more in-store purchases and shifting more of their monthly fuel purchases to the chain, according to the retailer.
Meanwhile, the program has improved Ricker’s brand perception. A consumer intercept survey of more than 400 fuel customers found that Ricker’s Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures loyalty and customers’ willingness to recommend a brand, rose by 7 points in less than six months. NPS scores of 50 or more are considered excellent. Ricker’s NPS score of 47 ranks close to this level, and it is significantly higher than the average American company’s score of 10.
Based on these returns, Ricker’s has decided to extend the Replenish program for another two years at the Indianapolis-area sites.
“I see the program as part of our legacy to the community and something that is extremely important to our core values as a company,” said Quinn Ricker, president and CEO. “When we ask employees and customers about Replenish, they have nothing but positive comments. I’ve even had people around town approach me unsolicited to tell me how cool the program is and how much they appreciate what we are doing. We’ve got a good thing.”
Ricker’s is now focused on building awareness of the program with existing and new customers, he said.
Ricker’s employees and their families participate in quarterly tree plantings in the community as part of the program. Store staff members also help take care of potted trees that promote the Replenish program near the fuel pumps. Atlanta-based GreenPrint has helped Ricker’s promote Replenish with signage, social and digital media support, and pumptop and network TV commercials.
“Having Replenish at our stores helps remind our customers about how much we care about our community, but it also helps to give me and our employees another thing to be proud of,” said Ricker’s store manager Brad Pyle. “We love being able to go to the tree-planting projects.”
Pyle planted the 5,000th tree through the Ricker’s Replenish program at a local “Keep Indianapolis Beautiful” project. Since the program’s launch, Ricker’s has planted more than 8,300 trees at local parks and schools with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, and with the Arbor Day Foundation. In 2017, Ricker’s is partnering the Indiana Bicentennial Commission to help replace trees on the lawn of the Indiana State House in Indianapolis.
Ricker Oil, Anderson, Ind., was founded in 1979 by Jay and Nancy Ricker. In 1989, they opened the first Ricker’s c-store, and today they have more than 56 locations in Indiana with more than 800 employees.