‘Green’ Retailing

Sustainability is no longer limited to few manufacturing industries. Retail sector is also realizing the importance of following eco-friendly practices. Global warming and reduction of green cover due to adverse manufacturing processes is fast becoming an important issue for all nations. Taking care of the natural environment is on the mind of everyone.

 

But there are two other important reasons also for the retailers to consider eco-friendly practices. First of all, consumers are increasingly becoming aware of eco-friendly goods and practices. They are ready to spend more on 'green' and organic products. Some retailers see this as an opportunity to expand their offerings. Secondly, retailers realize that building an eco-friendly brand would differentiate their offerings from those of competitors in the crowded market.

 

Initially 'going green' was about offering eco-friendly and organic products in stores. But now the focus is on building green practices in store operations and also along the supply chain. There is also increased awareness among retailers about carbon footprints at the manufacturing and operations level. Retailers are looking to create a positive impression on the consumer's mind about their brand.  

 

Some of the eco-friendly practices that retailers can follow for their stores are:

  • Opt for green construction processes for stores
  • Reuse packing material and cardboard boxes
  • Print double sided whenever possible
  • Use renewable sources of energy
  • Reduce paper transactions by adopting technology for billing, invoicing, vendor payments, order management, etc
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Reduce wastage of paper, electricity, water, etc in stores
  • Purchase energy efficient equipment inside stores
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning materials
  • Recycle paper, plastic, metals, cartridges, etc

 

There are multiple benefits by following green practices:

  • Optimal usage of infrastructure would lead to reduced operational costs
  • Reuse of materials and reduced wastage would lead to substantial cost savings
  • Investment in technology would save time and resources spent on operations
  • Would help in branding the company as eco-friendly
  • With government increasingly enforcing environmental protection, green practices would ensure compliances and also tax benefits in future.

 

It is not easy to convert conventional stores to eco-friendly stores. Large upfront investment is required for installing renewable options. It takes time and effort for the in-store staff to be conscious of wastage reduction and recycling options. Building an eco-friendly brand also does not happen overnight. Successful implementation of green practices requires a holistic approach and collaboration of all the stakeholders along the supply chain.

 

About the author: Uma Avantsa is a Contributing Editor for TradeBriefs. She can be reached at uma.avantsa@gmail.com