Retailers Have Become Green Innovators: Study

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Retailers Have Become Green Innovators: Study

A Retail Systems Research (RSR) report released yesterday in partnership with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has found that top retailers have established themselves as innovators in environmental sustainability and remain committed to incorporating green practices into their operations.

According to the report, retailers have integrated eco-friendly practices into their business models, business practices and branding. By doing so, retailers have achieved significant cost savings in their operations and benefited their brand images. The report went on to indicate that retailers there are still many opportunities available to expand green efforts. For instance, an overwhelming number of respondents see a reduction in energy consumption at the store level (92 percent) and throughout the supply chain (88 percent) as a key opportunity to realize further cost savings. Additional examples of high-return-on-investment green opportunities uncovered in the survey included packaging (89 percent), product design (84 percent), and new store construction (79 percent).

“Not only has the overall sentiment about green evolved, but the areas where retailers are investing have changed significantly,” the report noted. “Retail winners have made even greater progress: for them green is rapidly creating a strategic advantage in all corners of the enterprise.”

“This report quantifies the outstanding progress made by retailers who have committed to developing environmentally sustainable practices and incorporating them into their business operations,” added Casey Chroust, SVP for retail operations for Arlington, Va.-based RILA.

The trade organization promotes environmental sustainability through such projects as the RILA Sustainability Initiative (RSI), a collaborative program designed to help retailers meet and exceed environmental standards by pursuing green activities and responsible business practices. RILA is also a member of the EPA SmartWay Shipper Stakeholder Committee, which provides guidance toward the development of the collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the freight industry, with the aim of increasing energy efficiency while significantly lowering greenhouse gases and air pollution, and a partner with EPA’s Energy Star and WasteWise programs.

Also, on Oct. 5 through Oct. 7, RILA will host the second annual Environmental Sustainability & Compliance Conference (ESCC), the only sustainability conference designed and presented by retailers, for retailers.

The full RSR/RILA report is available at