WASHINGTON — The Retail Industry Leaders Association has released its first report on sustainability practices among some of its retail members. The 2012 Retail Sustainability Report highlights sustainability leadership in the retail industry and highlights company examples to highlight the innovative work of the industry and illustrate what it can anticipate over the coming years.
The report also emphasizes the important role of other stakeholders – be it landlords, municipalities, product manufacturers, transportation providers, or customers – in the sustainability journey and how various groups can work together to achieve common goals.
Key retail sustainability trends identified in the report include: working across sectors to achieve sustainability goals, turning from sustainability as a cost and risk reduction measure to an opportunity for business growth, developing systems for continuous improvement, and fostering transparency in operations and in the supply chain.
“I think one of the biggest takeaways from the report is that creating lasting change in retail sustainability is not something the industry can do alone,” said Adam Siegel, RILA VP sustainability and retail operations, continued Siegel. “Retailers are reaching out to nonprofits, academics, and governments as well as to their suppliers, consumers, investors, and communities to provide their diverse perspectives and partnerships and help accelerate sustainable innovation for all.”
The report offered four predictions on the growth of sustainability within the industry and said that in five to 10 years:
Sustainability will become integrated into the business;
The drive to manage supply chain impacts will transform retailer-supplier relationships;
Industry collaboration will become the standard;
Business models will evolve as consumption habits change;
The report identified four key trends and found that leading retailers are;
Working with stakeholders across sectors to achieve sustainability goals;
Turning from sustainability as a cost and risk reduction measure to an opportunity for business growth;
Developing systems for continuous improvement by pulling together controls, measurement and management tools and IT systems;
Fostering transparency in operations and in the supply chain.
The report is available at rila.org.