Is Your Retail Business Leading the Way in Sustainability?

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 19 Oct 2021

As sustainability becomes increasingly imperative worldwide, Power Retail is aiming to drive awareness, encourage and celebrate sustainable practices throughout the entire retail industry.

The pandemic has taken the world through a series of tumultuous shifts. This isn’t just working from home – it’s impacted our people, our business, and the planet. Since the globalisation of e-commerce and easily accessible retail platforms, there has been an increase in production and consumption. This, in turn, has strengthened the divide between the planet and consumers.

There’s no doubt that there has been a large-scale consensus on the rising inequality, and exploration of finite planetary resources, and a myriad of conscious consumers are changing the way they shop. This, as a result, is changing the way retailers position themselves.

“The reality is retailers can’t afford to put off the call to action any longer, for the climate’s sake and their own survival,” explained Co-Founder of Mills & York, Annabel Lott and Sophie Gunnersen. “All retailers need to have a voice and a presence in the sustainable sphere; we feel it really is the only way forward.”

Lott and Gunnersen explained that there are three major benefits to shifting to a sustainable business model:

  • Better Sales;
  • Better Connection with Customers; and
  • Better Differentiation

According to a report from CouriersPlease, 87 percent of Australian consumers said they would be more likely to purchase products that are sustainably produced or ethically sourced. What’s more, the Next Gen shoppers (Gen Z) are hyper-conscious about the brands they shop with, and will easily say goodbye to a brand that doesn’t align with their values.

The pandemic has only heightened these expectations. “Consumers have become far more aware and savvy, they want to align with brands they trust and see doing the right thing on many levels,” said Lott and Gunnersen. “The pandemic has opened the conversation of sustainability and the effect of climate change. The impact of the pandemic is monumental, the world has realised it’s vulnerable, we are sitting ducks, this has impacted the way people consume and live. All retailers are going to have to innovate their way out of this crisis. The retail industry has already reinvented itself for the digital age, so let’s use those powers of innovation to shape a better planet.”

What Can Retailers Do About It?

Power Retail has partnered with The Purpose Agents to create the Power Retail Sustainability Index, to drive awareness and encourage sustainable practices throughout the entire retail industry.

“Social and environmental responsibility are key to good business strategy. Not only do customers ask for it, but it is also an important risk management tool to ensure future relevancy and operational resilience. 2020 has been a year of many shocks to our planet, its people and the way businesses operate and respond. The urgency for our global and business community to come together and drive positive change could not be more pronounced,” explained Anna Forster, Co-Founder of The Purpose Agents.

What is the Power Retail Sustainability Index?

The Power Retail Sustainability Index consists of a questionnaire, derived from the triple bottom line theory, whereby companies should be working toward achieving positive results with regard to three bottom lines:

Profit: The traditional measure of corporate success

People: The measure of social responsibility when doing business

Planet: The measure of environmental responsibility when doing business

The 28-question benchmarking survey opens the opportunity for retailers to thoroughly assess and discuss their social responsibility and sustainability initiatives. This will be done across three topic areas – Company Ethos; Business Operations and Value Chain; and Business as an Agent of Change.

Responses to each question are rated on a scale from one to five. Scores will be tallied to determine the ranking on the Sustainability Index, and Power Retail will revisit these rankings continuously to chart the movement of sustainable practices in e-commerce.

So, does your business deserve recognition for its sustainable practices? If you think your company works towards a positive impact, this is your moment to recognise your hard work. To take part in the Power Retail Sustainability Index, submit your company’s practices today.

The planet isn’t waiting. Neither should you.

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