Topic of Discussion: Sustainability effort and its impact on the retail industry.
Let’s say hypothetically speaking, we invest our time in something that is going to save us money in the long run for our company, require less labor over time, use less limited resources, it helps replenish the earth to a certain degree, and has many more other positive outcomes; would we all be very accepting and open to this idea? Of course we would! However, a problem with this idea that is known as “going green” is the small fact of it being something that we are not accustomed to yet. Sustainability is a big buzzword in the green movement which simply means that what is used is replenished (Farfan 2009). Sustainability will take extra work , research, and practice to get to the essential goals, which can seem costly but in the end will all pay off. Boyton (2012) also believes that these goals require infrastructure development like management, measurement, and IT systems for continuous improvement. These things will require people who are skilled and educated at what they know in this subject, which in the end will create jobs. Surprisingly enough after tremendous amounts of just saying sustainability was a good idea, retailers throughout the world have begun the process and exploration of sustainability within their businesses.
Retailers play a huge role in our economy and they are basically the teachers of sustainability to consumers. Retailers are the people that have to get the message and awareness out so consumers so that they will be aware of how much of an impact they could make, and how much of an impact the company could make by doing simple or large tasks. Rice agrees, as manufacturers continue incorporating sustainability practices within their product manufacturing processes and supply chains, the retail industry – as the main customer point of contact – bears the responsibility of educating consumers about the sustainability choices available in the market (2010). Companies have begun to realize that the cost of everything is going up, although as consumers we found that out really quickly, they want to maximize profit and save money. If anyone wants to keep their company thriving they are going to have to be pre-cautious and willing to make sacrifices now with sustainability to prepare for their future. What better way to do so than “going green”? It is easy to say retailers have made a large impact in sustainability so far and it is only the beginning with numerous amounts of methods. Companies are constantly being innovative and coming up with new ideas to conserve or reuse items within their companies. Here are a few examples of how some retailers have decided to “go green”.
Reusable shopping bags.
Made from plastic bottles that came from rotting landfills in Japan and Taiwan (Darragh 2010)
One of Nike’s Reuse A Shoe bin
Whole Foods Market, Nordstrom, Gap Inc. (which owns Old Navy and Banana Republic),
Anthropologie, Patagonia, Sears and Kmart are using paperless receipts. (Clifford 2011)
Boynton, J. (2012, January 26). Sustainability in retail: Not an oxymoron. Retrieved from http://www.triplepundit.com/
Clifford, S. (2011, August 7). Digital receipts join paperless age. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
Farfan, B. (2009, January 26). Retail sustainability: Best U.S. retail employers have both job openings and ethics. Retreived from:http://www.about.com
Rice, J. (2010). Role of retail in sustainability. The Green Economy Post. Retrieved from http://greeneconomypost.com/