Green Retailing: Emerging Trends
in the Retail Industry

Going Green and Sustainability are two initiatives trending among retailers and businesses globally as the pandemic has further strengthened our cause of protecting our environment and planet. The retail industry has been at the centre of this conversation, and many big retail brands are taking the leap towards green measures and eco-conscious choices, while being vocal about green retailing.

What is Green Retail?

According to McKinsey, 65% of German and UK consumers prefer high-quality items that last longer, while 64% of Chinese consumers prefer environment-friendly products. A Nielson report states that 66% of people are ready to pay more for a brand that stands for eco-friendly products. As consumers prefer brands that stand for an environmental cause today, retailers are all for 'Going Green'.

Green Retail refers to the practices in the retail industry where a strategic approach is adopted to ensure sustainable practices across the retail value chain. Implementing recyclable packaging options and reducing operational waste are some approaches retailers worldwide opt for.

Simultaneously, awareness of climate change and sustainable goals are going through a seismic shift in the retail world.

The Pressure to be a Sustainable Brand

McKinsey reports that the CEO of Unilever, Alan Jope, emphasises that any company that wants to stay relevant in the future should think about sustainable behaviour. Vitally, many businesses are striving to change and reform their models to achieve fewer carbon emissions and more sustainable products. Like Marks & Spencer , big retailers plan to reduce their carbon emissions in the next five years. The company also aims to reduce CO2 emissions further by 25%.

Another example is the shoe-giant, Adidas. It makes over 400 million shoes each year, requiring many resources that are not very environmentally friendly. In a recent move, Adidas united with the environmental organisation ‘Parley’ to produce 7000 limited edition shoes made of plastic found in the ocean.

Many more companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle, Ikea are pledging to move away from plastic usage and pivot towards more sustainable packaging and measures.

The future of retail amidst climate change

Climate change is real, and retail businesses face a competitive imperative to focus on green choices. According to a report from CSB (Centre for Sustainable Businesses), 50% of sales growth among consumer-packaged goods between 2013 to 2018 came from sustainability-marketed products. Going green is not the differentiator but produces long-lasting, quantifiable benefit for retailers in reducing operational costs, tax credits and incentives, all while building better brand awareness. Young consumers drive the green retailing conversation forward, leading brands to collaborate and produce action-oriented results as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Another topic of discussion for retailers due to climate change, is the need for a better supply chain. It was reported last year that Hurricane Florence had cost retailers an estimated $700 million loss in the US. Natural resource scarcity and vulnerable natural calamities, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, have also prompted retailers to consider optimising their supply chain.

How to invest in sustainability?

Every business, small or large, can steer the conversation towards sustainability. The famous wellness and beauty brand ‘Body Shop’ has been pursuing green retailing for quite some time by adopting sustainable packaging for its products. Starbucks has pledged to promote Green Stores as a part of its sustainable initiatives to reduce waste by 2025 and has partnered with local small store owners with environment-friendly products to gain momentum with consumers, across social media.

Any retail brand can adopt a zero-waste sustainable measure to support green retail by investing in POS technology that reduces operational wastage and helps automate workflows. iRetail suite minimises retailers' paper dependencies and produces digital receipts for a seamless and eco-friendly operation. It also helps reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of retail businesses by 37% and automates daily operations for staff and employees.

Request a demo today to learn more about iRetail from our retail experts.

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