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Sustainable Retail Practices: Leading the Way

Retail is now changing its methods to ensure a company is more eco-friendly with their production of items and that is a good thing. It is something that the whole industry needs to do to attract future customers. 

It is believed that around 50% of consumers are buying from sustainable brands. One of the reasons why is that companies that are sustainable offer more quality with their products. Sustainability offers more benefits than buying from fast-fashion brands or companies that develop cheap products. 

Let’s look at some of the most common retail trends and why they are important for modern retail.


Why Is Sustainability Important? 

Sustainability is not essential for a business however, it doesn’t offer benefits. If a company is to reduce carbon emissions then they need to be more eco-friendly and considerate. Let’s take a look at the data and stats that sustainability brings. 

Stats from Deloitte 

Around 73% of consumer CxOs increased their investments in sustainability over the past year. Additionally, 84% of leaders agreed they will achieve economic growth and 50% of companies around the world are manufacturing new eco-friendly products or services. 


Stats from Forrester

  • Five Fortune Global 200 companies are likely to lead the way by creating new policies that limit travel to be more sustainable. 
  • Carbon offsets and credits will play a vital role in reducing fraud
  • Carbon reporting will be governed by one universal standard 


As you can see, there are many countries and businesses around the world that are aiming to be more sustainable and eco-friendly with their products and services. However, this isn’t something that will happen overnight. It will take time for companies to adjust their methods to ensure they are being more eco-conscious. Nonetheless, there are things they can do instantly to ensure they are greener and more eco-friendly. 


Sustainable Methods Retailers Should Employ

One of the first things a business can do is to go paperless. There is no need for paper receipts anywhere so a good way to reduce costs and be more sustainable is to go paperless with receipts. This is where a retailer will email receipts rather than print them off. This not only benefits the company but also benefits the customer because they don’t need to worry about losing the receipt if they wish to return the items. 

There is no doubt that paperless will create efficiencies, and help automate business processes and further customer security. Digital receipts are something that every company should do, especially businesses in the retail industry. Additionally, these digital receipts can include links to your website, other products and your refund policy. Helping to give the customer more information and answer any questions they might have.


Reduce Waste During Manufacturing

Something else which is important is for companies to reduce their waste. Additionally, a customer wants to know that businesses are being more sustainable. 

A retailer should audit the waste and aim for ways to create more recycling and reusable products during the manufacturing process. If a retailer buys and resells certain products, they should ask for transparency with the supplier. Find out about the pollution, safety conditions, practices and overall waste. There are no industry standards on this so it is up to you who you question about their sustainability. If they can provide the information with backed data then you know they are sustainable. 


Choose Clean Energy Options

Retailers should always choose to reduce energy consumption or use less wasteful energy sources. Additionally, using renewable or eco-friendly energy sources will benefit the business massively, not just from a sustainable point but also reduce energy consumption. 

A retailer should contact their energy supplier to have an audit of their store. During this audit, the retailer will be advised on how they can be more environmentally friendly and reduce energy bills. One of the easiest ways to reduce energy consumption is to switch to LED light bulbs as these are more energy efficient because they require less power. Additionally, a retailer can look into renewable energy and solar lights for their shop. 

After business hours, turn everything off that you usually leave on standby. Make sure you get your employees on board with the primary goal and employ a green team to monitor energy usage. 


Source Sustainable Products

Reiterating the point of buying and reselling, always ensure the supplier is manufacturing eco-friendly products. Additionally, if a retailer sells a variety of brands then they should only look to sell eco-friendly brands to help improve sustainability. It isn’t just the actual product that you need to ensure they are sustainable, it is also the waste they produce and the materials/ ingredients are also sustainable. Whether it is men’s clothing or bamboo fencing, all matters where it is sourced from. 


Retailers Must Be Transparent

It is important retailers are transparent, especially if they are sustainable. They should make customers aware of their primary goal and how they are looking to make a change which should be the right change. Customers love brands which are sustainable and offer quality products.

Being transparent allows customers to be more sustainable, especially those who shop with sustainable brands only. It can be a great way to reach out to a new customer and encourage them to shop with that brand. 


Upcycle and Donate Unsold Stock or Samples

Another common method to ensure sustainability is to ensure no stock is not being thrown away. For small retailers, they should look to upcycle their unused stock but with much bigger businesses, they should consider other methods. Instead of throwing away items and samples, put them on sale for reduced prices to entice customers into buying the product. 

There are a lot of items that get thrown away each year that have never been used or sold. That is why it is important to reduce this waste by putting unused items and products on sale for a significantly lower price for customers to buy. 


Retailers Should Find Ways To Reduce Carbon Footprints With Logistics and Shipping

Transportation is a massive contributor to retailers’ gas emissions. It accounts for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions so it is important retailers look to reduce their carbon footprint.

If retail companies offer parking then they should also consider renewable energy charging points. For example, car parks in Leeds offer EV charging points for those who drive electric cars. This is a great way of encouraging your customers to also be eco-friendly. 



There are many ways a business can be more environmentally friendly, especially in the retail industry. Retail businesses must do their best to ensure they are being more sustainable to not only tick a box but also reduce costs. Sustainability is a great way to reduce costs which is why it is encouraged. Furthermore, it can offer more quality with a product or service. 


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