Today green is becoming a necessity in business. For any company to ensure their longevity and continued profitability they need to become a green retail business. This can mean a variety of things, from using sustainable business practices as far as transportation and materials, to greening the company’s new construction and existing facilities to selling environmentally friendly products. Whatever way you slice it, going green is the right decision now and into the future. By going green your retail business can spend less, earn more and become more profitable, while also becoming a positive part of the environment.
There are three main reasons for any company to become a green retail business. First, customers are increasingly demanding green from the businesses they shop in. Second, this consumer demand means that other businesses are going green. Thus, you need to go green simply to keep up. And third, going green simply makes business sense as it increases long term profits. Let’s look at these three items in detail in a moment, but first we will look at a few examples of the retail world making the move to green.
A Few Big Names Go Green As if to emphasize the value of going green today, a number of big names in retail have been focusing their efforts on green recently. These companies are seeking to reduce, reuse and recycle, and also provide green options for their customers.
Wal-Mart is one company starting to make some eco-conscious changes to their business. Specifically, Wal-Mart is focusing on three main goals. First, they are seeking to make a move to sustainable energy, in fact their goal is that all their stores use 100% renewable energy in the near future. Additionally, Wal-Mart is trying to reduce waste, hoping to achieve zero waste in their operations. Finally, Wal-Mart is looking to increase the availability of green products in their stores, making it easier for consumers to take their own green steps.
The department store Kohls is similarly seeking to green their operations. Renewable energy is on their radar as they seek to reduce the carbon footprints of their stores and corporate offices. Part of this will be accomplished through LEED certification of new stores that Kohls builds. While working on their own waste reduction and recycling, Kohls is also working with suppliers to reduce packaging and waste.
The large Swedish retailer Ikea is also trying to reduce their environmental footprint. One of Ikea’s biggest green strategies has always been, and continues to be, reducing transportation costs. This is done largely through packaging as they seek to package their products as efficiently as possible to allow more product to be shipped in fewer shipments. Ikea is also looking into the materials that their products are made from, specifically looking to eliminate their uses of non-sustainable wood.
Customers Demand Green While not every company is as large as Wal-Mart, Kohls or Ikea and cannot embark on such large initiatives or lofty goals, each company must decide what their green policy is and work towards some level of green retail business. Consumers are demanding it. Any company who fails to embrace sustainable business will see a loss in consumers over the coming years.
The Competition is Going Green And where will these lost customers go? Well, they will go off to patronize the competition, who IS going green. As our examples above show, every avenue of retail business is starting to look at sustainability. Even these huge commercial icons have recognized that green is the color of the future, and the future’s money. Going green will be necessary to simply keep up in an ultra competitive consumer marketplace. To truly excel and stand out in that market companies need to be among the first to go green and they need to be sure and spread the word.
Green Makes Business Sense Green makes ethical sense, as we are all stewards of our planet and should want to make a difference. But it also makes economic sense. Not only do sustainable business practices meet growing consumer demand and help a green retailer to keep up with their competition, but eco-friendly actions can also save money now and in the future. For example, by simply reducing the brightness of lights in a store a retailer can save 30-40% off their electricity bill. Some grocery stores are taking the steps of adding motion detectors to the lights in their refrigerators and aisles, so that the lights only come on as customers approach the aisle – what a great proactive solution that looks good and saves money in the here and now. Of course larger changes such as energy efficient buildings and energy systems can save even more over the long run.
Bring it around Town The simple truth is that green is the color of the future. It is not a matter of if a company will have to go green, but rather of when they will institute sustainable business strategies, becoming a green retail business out of necessity. Think of it as the right thing to do. Think of it as the economically smart thing to do. Think of it as a potential government mandate (more are coming every day). Or think of it as peer pressure from the competition. Whatever way you slice it up, going green is an absolute necessity for any business to survive deeper into the 21st Century.