Sustainability: Making more from less
Time has long passed, from when a sustainable initiative was not much more than a smart marketing strategy. Sustainability has now irreversibly developed into something essential to establish commercial traction with many customers.
Responsibility for sustainability has also shifted, from the marketing department to every department across a business. Products are being held up as icons of the sustainable age, and so too are the businesses that produce and sell them. Shaming of exploitative businesses and the wasteful products they sell has gained a momentum that is not going to slow.
For our commercial, as well as our existential security, it is essential that retail embraces every aspect of sustainability.
Evolving sustainable education
The process of evolution begins with education. Increasing the awareness of colleagues, customers and suppliers about sustainable materials & processes is the minimum first level of achievement.
A ‘quick-win’ overhaul of the complete buying & merchandising process is simply not going to happen. Superficial changes make little difference to either the business credentials of the retailer or the actual impact on the environment, and genuine sustainability.
Un-picking and re-inventing existing processes
Fundamental change requires the un-picking of existing process principles and collaborations, whilst additional sustainable alternatives are also explored. This takes time, however it does not mean that the buying teams cannot move relatively quickly to selecting more materials that are recyclable or recycled, wherever possible. This begins with education.
Buyers can also evolve further the development of individual products, ranges and capsule collections that are completely re-cyclable, or re-usable. Moving forwards one step at a time can accelerate into a sustainable pace for change across the entire assortment.
Customers are also realistic enough to know that every change cannot be made in an instant. However, they are fully aware of the ‘greenwashing’ of businesses claiming to be on the road to sustainability, whilst still clearly driving along the exploitation super-highway.
Marketing campaigns, internal sustainability schemes, charitable collaborations and donations, as well as the harnessing of colleague lifestyle initiatives are all important in communicating to customers that at the very least, the intent to change is a reality within the business.
Your ‘sustainability’ project…
If you want to start the ‘sustainability strategy’ ball rolling, please get in touch. I would be happy to share with you some typical project templates, schedules, costs, and case studies.
Please get in touch to discuss further your particular needs.
In the meantime…
If you’d like to read my book first to understand where I’m coming from, then that’s an excellent idea.
It is hot off the press for 2022.
Available for sustainable POD (print on demand) through Amazon or any of the usual book retailers.
In the book you will find 75 action plans and 100 retail best practice insights. They may guide you in assessing your current weaknesses and opportunities.
I hope also that the sections on how to flourish in the ‘The life and times of the Essential Retailer’ how to evolve ‘Agile Organisations’ and excel in ‘Astute Strategies’ may also be a source of inspiration and guidance.
Please enjoy some extracts…