What Retailers Can Do To Go Green In 2017
By Katrina Manning
While there are some retailers who think “going green” is just another temporary fad that will be here today and gone tomorrow, there are many who are already and have already taken concrete steps towards going green for the long haul. Today’s consumer’s are much more aware of their overall impact on our communities. As a result, shoppers are having a much more environmentally-friendly persona in their daily lives. People are taking more time to recycle, they are being more thoughtful of the impact of their purchases and how they choose to live. This is why it is more important than ever for retailers to meet those needs. Retail businesses can do so by becoming more efficient and implementing sustainable practices, which also helps to save money. If you think the cost and trouble of becoming more environmentally-friendly isn’t worth the return, think again. Consumers love to patronize retailers who actively care for the environment in a variety of ways from offering recycling programs to using less plastic and even curtailing animal testing and/or creating more vegan products. Here, we’ve compiled a list for how those in the retail industry can go green.
Start with a plan
You won’t know where you’re going if you don’t have a map to get there. Congratulations for making the decision to go green. Now, you need to determine where to start. First, you should contact your local utility company to give you an energy audit. The good news is most companies offer an audit at no charge. In addition, they can provide recommendations for where you can reduce costs. Now, take that list and create a plan of action. Study each area of store operations to figure out which processes should be modified and how to do so.
Decorate outside the box
Part of a retailer’s appeal is the way the brick-and-mortar stores are decorated. To illustrate, a clothing store might want beautiful seating areas in the dressing rooms as well as modern fixtures throughout. Yet, polished interior design can still be accomplished by using recycled furniture. Visit estate sales for unique items you can use throughout your store for eye-catching displays.
You can even go to hotel furniture sales and purchase used couches, desks, chairs, dining sets and more. Used hotel furniture is often in very good condition. You might even pore through eBay and Craigslist for deals on barely used furniture. Even vintage office furniture will bring environmentally-conscious consumers into your retail front. The reason is you are recycling furniture, so you are not creating new impacts on the environment. Plus, your items will stand out from your competition.
Use green gas for deliveries
Since more consumers are ordering items online for delivery, you will have to figure out how to make those deliveries much more green. You can start by considering the type of gas you use in your delivery trucks. One to consider is a renewable fuel from CNG Fuels. This is a renewable biomethane fuel derived from food waste. Moreover, it is 40 percent less expensive than diesel while emitting 70 percent less carbon dioxide. Plus, this fuel can be used in all trucks with gas engines.
So, if you can’t afford a new fleet of electric trucks–renewable fuels is the way to go. Philip Fjeld, chief executive of CNG Fuels, said in a statement, “Renewable and sustainably sourced biomethane is the most cost-effective and lowest-carbon alternative to diesel for HGVs and is attracting increasing interest. We are expanding our refueling infrastructure nationwide to help fleet operators save money, cut carbon and clean up our air.”
Set up an alternative energy source
This is not only good for your retail business, but it is also good for public relations. Many areas throughout the country now allow you to sign up to purchase “green power” from your current utility provider. As technology has evolved, so has our ability to utilize energy from a wide variety of sources include wind, solar, plant matter, geothermal and hydropower. Your electricity bill may go up a small percentage, which is spent on purchasing clean energy fed to the electrical grid. If more retailers participated, it might even go mainstream.
Give your employees bus passes and make it convenient to store bikes
Whether you take the bus or ride a bike, either form of transportation will reduce the carbon footprint of your business. Not everyone is excited about taking the bus, but many cities have been in the process of upgrading their public transportation systems to use more modern green buses with more stops.
There is nothing more frustrating than sitting idle in morning or late afternoon traffic. On the other hand, buses get to travel in bus lanes which circumvents main highway traffic. Furthermore, when you ride the bus you can enjoy the view, read a book, listen to music or converse with other colleagues riding along with you. Another option is carpooling to help reduce the number of cars on the highways at any given time.
Work with a green web hosting company
If your retail store is online, you have many choices for hosting companies. But, if you want to go green, you should use green web hosting. They can use this moniker because they take part in activities such as using renewable energy, buying carbon offsets or planting trees. Even if you haven’t directly participated in these types of activities, you can feel good about supporting a company that does.
Sell reusable bags
If you’re planning on going green, you probably already know how bad plastic is for the environment. From plastic islands to millions of animals dying through eating plastic waste, it is an epidemic. We are running out of time and land to store all of the plastic waste we throw out everyday. To help your shoppers with a green solution, consider selling reusable bags at cost. Other shopping bag options include products made of industrial post-consumer materials. Depending on the type of product sold, you might even skip bagging altogether.
Many shoppers actively search for green businesses as places to do their shopping. Once you’ve started your green activities, don’t keep it a secret. Announce your green initiatives to customers, staff and business partners. Let them know your retail store is committed to making responsible choices every single day.
Katrina Manning is a content marketing specialist who has penned thousands of articles on business, tech, lifestyle and digital marketing for a wide variety of global B2B clients. She moslty writes for Leadpath.com and she is also the author of three books and is currently working on her fourth. In her free time, she enjoys fundraising for charitable causes, playing with her cat and baking.