Real World Green: Winning Retailers See Sustainability As Competitive Advantage

11 08 2009

IMG_1165“Make green an integral part of your brand promise, and don’t wait to be pushed into action by eco-savvy consumers.  The store is a great place to begin – there is something every retailer can do today to reduce the amount of energy used.  But there is not “magic bullet” tactic for buildng a “green brand.”

-Real World Green:  The Role of Environmental Savings in Retail

The Retail Industry Leaders Association just issued it 2009 Benchmark Report on environmental sustainability in retail—which demonstrates how quickly retailer attitudes toward green initiatives as both a business economic driver and brand reputation indictaor have moved in the past 12 months, despite the recession.

The survey of nearly 100 retailers across all retail categories and company sizes finds some significant new findings toward sustainability practices.  The analysis divides retailers into “winners” – those retailers who’s revenue performance is besting industry average and “laggards” – those that are obviously falling behind.

The results illuminate that the “winners” of the past year in retail are significant more enlightened and deeply committed to driving sustainability initiatives into their operations and appreciate the benefit it will provide for their brand.  Whether or not their current customers are demanding it.

Some of the interesting factoids from the research impressed us.

  • 55% of retail “winners” see environmentally sound practices as both a “ethical obligation” and “to be seen as an industry leader”.
  • 80% of retail “winners” say that their customers expecting them to act is a key influencer to pursue green initiatives
  • 71% of retailers agree that “marketing our brand as “ecologically-conscious will have a profound impact on our brand image”

To further demonstrate how sustainability is a key topic on the minds of executive leadership of these retail companies: 87% of respondents believe the CEO has the greatest future potential of influencing their company’s leadership on sustainability—followed by the VP Marketing at 64%.  This would support our belief that those executive positions most responsible for overall brand and company reputation and image are going to be driving strategic sustainability initiatives in the future.

Read the Report:  Real-World Green_ The Role of Environmental Savings in Retail


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