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Sustainability in Retail: Practices That Will Help You Make a Positive Impact

3 min read

Sustainability is the hottest buzz word nowadays across all industries. The need for environmentally sustainable and socially responsible practices has increased over the years due to a collective desire of people to combat climate change, eradicate poverty, provide better healthcare, and basically create a better world.

In such case, sustainability has never been more important in retail – as manufacturing, supply chain, and consumerism are directly linked to how we manage environmental resources.

Implementing sustainable practices in retail is not only good for the environment, but it will also make your business profits soar. Take for example our interview with Jeremy Meltzer, Founder and CEO of i=Change, as he shares insights on how most millennials are going for brands that implement sustainability in their businesses.

In whatever phase you are in business now, it is definitely possible that you can steer your operations towards more sustainable practices. Whether that is to help save the environment, giving back to your community, or support a cause – your business can create a positive impact to the world using these practical steps.

#1 Zero Waste Management

Can you imagine a perfectly circular economy that nothing is ever wasted in the entire supply and consumer chain? This is truly possible through the efforts of everyone in the economy. Global companies like Samsung, Nestle and Starbucks are already taking major efforts in reducing and recycling plastics in production to lessen their environmental impact.

Being completely zero waste may be difficult for retailers, as our current manufacturing system is still heavily reliant on plastic packaging. Take the initiative with your suppliers in lessening plastic waste by buying in bulk or using alternatives to disposable plastic. You can even go all the way to become part of your supplier’s manufacturing process in designing products that can be easily repaired, recycled or upcycled.

Another thing you can do is to give incentives to customers in bringing their own reusable shopping bags. Besides being good for the environment, it can also cut costs on procuring paper or plastic bags.

#2 Energy-Efficient Practices

Going for energy-saving appliances and fixtures creates a win-win for the environment and your business costs. VendHQ cites a statistic from Small Business Administration that a 10% reduction in energy costs can boost net profits by as much as 1.55%.

Take a closer look on how your entire operations is going. Which electrical devices do you need to replace for more energy-efficient options? What interior or exterior additions can you do to save on heating and cooling costs? Try incorporating solar panels, green roofs, or wall gardens to your store building. You might need to invest more on this, but it will bring positive results to your ROI.

#3 The Endless Flow of Receipts

The traditional paper receipts do take its toll in getting more resources to produce it. Take the initiative to offer digital receipts in your store, or opt for micro receipts.

Digital receipts can be done through email or mobile app. You can ask your customers for their email addresses and send their receipts electronically. You can also learn a thing or two in the mobile app of Cebu Pacific, where they allow passengers to check in through the app and show their booking confirmation via phone as a boarding pass.

And if asking for your customers’ email addresses can add friction to how you approach them, you can use micro receipts instead. Micro receipts contain a small QR code which customers can scan with their phones. This takes a huge cut in using paper resources, and also allow retailers to engage customers in mobile promotions.

i=Change’s Founder and CEO, Jeremy Meltzer, will be talking more about how to incorporate sustainability in the supply chain and how your business can create a better social impact at New Retail ’19. This biggest retail learning gathering in Australia on February 25 – 27 will elevate your understanding to all innovations across the industry. Make sure to be there so as not to miss all the retail upskill you can’t get anywhere else.



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