Effective Ways to Build a Sustainable Retail Business

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Some trends become popular while others fade away immediately. A trend for business sustainability has emerged, and it looks like it’s here to stay. The business and sustainability trend has arisen due to the increased public consciousness of environmental and social issues. Businesses are required to claim responsibility and embrace the challenge of sustainability. The main problem is that most businesses in the retail don’t take measures to ensure that they are friendly to the environment. Perhaps they lack an understanding of what sustainability means. Or maybe they find that the road to sustainability is difficult. What about you? What is your excuse? Going green has gone mainstream in business, which means that you need to place great emphasis on going green. This article provides some guidance on what needs to be done.


Jump into sustainability by setting goals

Retail sustainability programs are just like all the others – in other words, they provide strategic direction and encourage innovation within the company. Retail business sustainability practices generally include goals. It’s essential that you have clear, realistic sustainability goals. Many retailers are focusing their attention on material topics. Others acknowledge the fact that their businesses need to operate within certain environmental boundaries, such as limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Needless to say, the goals vary from one business to the other. Develop sustainability goals that compliment organizational goals, identify possible resources, and create an action plan. Make sustainability your primary concern and, most importantly, be constant in your efforts.

Operate recycling policies

The media is full of stories about pollution, climate change, not to mention the depletion of the ozone layer. The result is that individuals don’t know what to do anymore to cause change. If you’re running a retail business, you can start with lowering your waste levels. The fact of the matter is that the retail industry sends many materials to the dumpster. The demand for perfect food means that it’s discarded, therefore affecting the climate and leaving people famished. Besides food waste, the retail industry discards paper and cardboard, metals, glass, textiles, just to name a few.

When you’re energy-efficient in your retail business, you help the environment, as well as yourself. This might come as a surprise to you, but everyone knows that environmentally friendly business practices help save money. So, reduce, reuse, and recycle. The best thing that you can do right now is introduce recycling policies. Your organization needs to adopt a principal course of action and ensure effective implementation. Here are some useful tips for you:

• Put recycling bins in all your stores

It’s a good idea to have recycling bins for paper, plastic, cartridges, glass, and so on and so forth. Offer your employees and, of course, your customers multiple recycling options. You can place the bins inside the shops, in the break room, or near the entrance if you like. Just make sure that they are visible. Miltek says that many stores are making steps toward recycling. Putting recycling bins is only one step you’re taking. Nonetheless, it’s an important one.

• Acquire a baler

Retail stores generate large volumes of waste, of which mention can be made of plastic and cardboard packaging that takes up a considerable amount of space. Have you ever stopped for a moment to think about how much space the unwanted material occupies? If you haven’t, then you don’t know that the depository is already full. What is more, you don’t have the slightest idea how difficult it is to transport the waste to the collection trucks. Cutting the amount of waste is possible. How? With the help of a baler, you can restrict the number of materials, thus enhancing the efficiency of each recycling haul.

• Strive to minimize waste

When it comes to waste minimization at retail businesses, it’s necessary to reduce packaging. What you can do is offer your customers the opportunity not to purchase bagged. People may not be happy with the idea. This is the reason why you should provide them a financial incentive. You don’t have to dig into your pockets. You can offer a small discount. Equally important is to work with providers and suppliers that utilize less packaging. What if you’re operating an e-commerce shop? Online retailers who reduce packaging enjoy increased profits.

recycled materials

Growth and comfort don’t work well together

At present, we live in a world of rapid change and, sometimes, it’s not easy to keep pace. The fact is that things change extremely quickly. In the road to sustainability, there will be uncomfortable times. It wasn’t easy for retailers like Nike or H&M to change and it won’t be easy for you. What you need to understand is that business growth is difficult, especially taking into consideration the current shift in technology that is impacting all the other industries. Everybody is in retail nowadays. What does this mean? It simply means that you have a lot of competition which could impact your sales and profitability. If you don’t focus on delivering value to your customers, you won’t survive.

Take pride in your sustainable reputation

When you achieve your goals – that is, when you become sustainable – you should let the world know. Clients and customers need to be informed about the fact that your enterprise has minimal impact on the global and local environment. As strange as it may seem, this will earn you extra points. As mentioned before, people genuinely care if retail businesses are sustainable or not. If in the past they were highly skeptical about companies claiming that they are green, now they honestly believe that businesses make tremendous environmental efforts. According to recent reports, consumers prefer sustainable brands. So, they are making purchases based on ecological and social impacts.

Your clients and customers will be so proud of you, so there is really no reason to hide your accomplishments. You’ve managed to build a sustainable retail business. However, that doesn’t mean that your efforts should stop here. Continue to do what you’ve been doing and see if you can come up with some innovations.

Bill is a green living geek writing about various topics including; sustainability, fuel economy vehicles, green design, branding and marketing.

1 Comment

  1. Recycling bins are a poor example. Self reliant recycling and efficiency are where the greatest gains also benefit ourselves considerably.

    Proactively exchanging waste materials with other businesses, so together we utilise each others’ waste materials and encourage more effective, and efficient relationships.

    Local government, and their counterparts, charge excessively for recycling, then dump it all together outside recycling plants, contaminating and ruining most loads, or burying and hiding it, as they rarely operate within or with the same cultural ecosystem.

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