Four Ways Retailers Can Make Their Stores More Eco-Friendly

Retailers see green in 'green' businessSustainable and ethical shopping culture has moved beyond being a passing trend, now establishing itself as an essential part of the customer-retailer experience. Shoppers are becoming more informed on topics of environmentalism and sustainability, seeking out products and services that match their own ethical positions. Customers have always sought out brands that reflect their lifestyle decisions, such as those retailers that complement perceptions of style and quality, and it follows naturally that ethics also becomes a part of the formula.

 

Retailers are, as such, rethinking their high street stores. With environmentally friendly products, design, and reputations, stores have the opportunity to not only reach new customers but to make a positive difference in the world. Here are four ways that this is already taking place on the high street.

 

Store Design

 

The retail furniture and shop shelving that a store uses to display its products and design its space have the potential to communicate a brand’s environmental position. No matter how sustainable a product might be, its eco-friendliness can be undermined by low-quality materials.

 

Forward-thinking retailers are already embracing sustainably made displays and furniture, seeking store assets that have been made with the environment in mind. Everything from mannequins to cable displays can be made ethically or, for example, from biodegradable materials. High street brands like Pret have begun to use clay-based paints in their stores, as well as recycled ceramic tiles, leading the way with eco-friendly aesthetics.

 

Renewable Energy

 

Many stores have begun to display their energy supplies as a source of pride. A number of Apple stores, for example, operate with carbon-neutral energy supplies and note this on their storefronts. By making such a gesture and statement, retailers are communicating to customers that any and all products offered are done within an environmentally friendly concept.

 

Other stores will seek to offset their carbon footprint through their products, such as by donating a portion of their profits to a good cause or by noting the sustainable manufacturing.

 

Reduced Waste

 

A significant part of a high street store’s carbon cost has historically been the waste it produces. Single-use plastics, such as those used in takeaway bags and product wrapping, quickly accumulate and have become the target of many environmental campaigns. Free plastic bags, for example, have quickly gone from being ubiquitous to being replaced with paper or reusable alternatives.

 

Many stores have also begun to eliminate paper receipts from their service. Instead, they choose to send receipts via email, reducing the need for a paper printout.

 

Clean Spaces

 

Store spaces have the potential to be climate controlled and purified, which is exactly what many high-end stores are seeking to achieve. With climate control equipment, a store’s energy efficiency increases as the heating and ventilation respond to the needs of the space. This reduces the overall consumption of a retail concept while simultaneously ensuring its comfort.

 

Additionally, a number of stores in urban areas have begun to purify their air. This is partly in response to the health crisis but also to offer customers a respite from the pollution of city life.