Sustainability can no longer be dismissed as a corporate responsibility, retailer need to understand the impact of adhering to the eco-norms and explore innovative practices that can be uniquely distinguished with the brand. Considering a while back, when you could find other green initiatives as well as LED based retail projects. Presently the agenda for the brands has shifted to the operations and the supply-chain. The scope for the brands to build a case for their accreditation with green practices enhances their portfolio. Brands need to make their mark in retail sustainability space and play a major role in bringing up their brands. There has been a definite enhancement to the options that the retailers can undertake waste reduction, on-site renewable energy, new roofing retro-fit technologies, community integration, green procurement and non-toxic cleaning policies. Retailers need to align themselves with the drivers that have given the whole movement, the impetus required to create momentum for the green industry, these are; Consumers, Compliance, Costing, Competition.
They care more than ever about the environment and the impact that their purchasing decisions have up and down the supply chain—and it is strengthening. They are using the power of their rupee as a vote and are choosing to support businesses that share and respect their new value set. Retailers have begun to gain the loyalty of these conscious consumers. Reports state that 40 percent of consumers make purchasing decisions based in part on the values of a company or brand, not just the product. Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear that retailers must do more than green the products on their shelves; they must also green their operations. Retail store operations and maintenance is an important piece of a retailer’s sustainability story. For an industry that is at the whim of consumer demand, getting it right in the retail environment will be critical to the success of a retailer’s sustainability initiatives.
Code and compliance issues are nothing new for retailers, but now that sustainability has entered the picture, municipalities are enforcing environmental protection with new fervor. A slew of new legislation is on the books dealing with impact reduction for retailers, and more is on the horizon. Currently Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) retail is the in-thing; it is only a matter of time before the legislation is implemented to the retail background just like in the commercial market. While much of the major legislation covers Design & Construction, there are implications for retail facility maintenance and operations. For retail FM professionals today, the real pressure is not compliance—rather; it’s making use of incentives and tax rebates that have come about or on the queue for development.
Energy costs are typically a top-five expense for retailers and manufacturers. Add tipping fees, water bills, wastewater fees, cleaning supplies, transport, and maintenance; and the costs begin to add up quickly. A facility manager that can bring a 5 percent reduction in any of these areas will provide a substantial cost savings to their organization year after year. In order to ensure cost- effective operation, one needs to invest in on-site renewable options, in Energy Management Systems (EMS) and collaboration with utilities, who act as your cost reduction agent.
Retailers are competing in the sustainability space for consumer and investor loyalty—not just on their product lines or building footprint, but across the enterprise of the retail business model, from raw material source to processing, to manufacturing, to shelf, and back into the supply chain as post-consumer material. Undertaking the opportunity to carve out a leadership position in the arena has become imperative especially now that design and construction have become somewhat quiet.
Successful implementation just requires taking a holistic approach and looking at your sustainability initiatives as common goals to huddle around, goals that enable collaboration beyond the boundaries of the company’s payroll, throughout the supply chain and service providers.