Sustainability is one of the most frequent words of the 21st century and it is becoming one of the most important principles in the retail sector. The concept of sustainability emerged as a component of corporate ethics in response to public discontent over the long-term damage caused by a focus on short-term profits.
In fact, today many sustainable retail companies start to create spaces which are able to offer the best performances according to bio-climatic architectural principles. Therefore, adopting this approach seems to increase employees’ productivity and customers’ stay in sustainable shops.
Although, what are the right steps to follow in order to become a more sustainable retail company?
Step 1 – The right starting point
Establishing the right starting point means that you need to root your business in the concept of sustainability. It has to be able to create value for employees, customers and clients.
Every company has to understand its business values and objectives aligning them with the best sustainable strategies. This way, it is possible to create an operating plan on development.
What are the goals of this cultural shift? The desire to become a sustainable retail company is grounded in the following principles:
- Improvements for the business, in fact a company can gain more engagement from clients, customers and employees
- Observation of the Legislation about the theme, in order not to break the rules that regulate sustainable companies
- Environment, to avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources and allow for long-term environmental quality
- Social health, that means to allow all people to live well now and in the future
Step 2 – Opportunities and risks
The second step is dedicated to analysis: you can conduct a rigorous analysis on market opportunities and risks for a business associated to a social trend. It is important to know how the company can approach the concept of sustainability, which are the social and environmental trends and how these could become a potential risk for the business values.
In addition, how can a sustainable retail tactic create value for the company? How it is possible to identify key points and trends?
Quick tips for an immediate shift
We leave you some tips that you can adopt right now so you can verify an immediate within the company:
- Avail yourself of an internal and confidential line of support for employees. Either if it is by a call answering service or through private emails, you will be able to address their doubts and assess the proper procedures. This kind of support is essential during the first few months of your implementation plan.
- Reduce your paper use by a more holistic approach of your IT. You can think about a paper free office, promoting the use of digital files instead of paper sheets.
- Reduce the excessive energy consumpition enstablishing new rules for employees to be careful to turn off lights and electronic devices after thier use
- Establish a separate collection for waste. Actually, this is a very common practice in most of the retails, mandatory in some cases. This is simple to implement in you retail and you can do it without spend a fortune.
Step 3 – Create your sustainable retail strategy
Keeping these ideas in mind, you can start developing your sustainable retail strategy:
- Establish a general strategic framework able to create value for the company, customers and clients. Set a specific goal and keep it in mind throughout the whole process in order to properly achieve it. Make it transversal to your company structure.
- Let your team get familiarized with your new strategy.
- Implement the analysis of opportunities and risks that you developed during the second step.
- Think and create other strategic options and investigation lines for further analysis in order to keep improving.
- Adopt strategies to combine both sustainable retail and business objectives.
Step 4 – Implementation plan: being a sustainable retail company
The last step will allow you to implement all the previous actions in order to finalize your intent to become a sustainable retail company.
First of all, you need to develop two plans of communication: an internal one (for employees and executives) and an external one (for customers and clients). Logically, each communication plan will require a constant revision of planned strategies. Lastly, it is necessary for the strategy to constantly be updated with exact parameters and data.
Following these tips means creating appreciation for your work from any person coming into contact with the company. Being sustainable is not simple, but adopting this type of approach can only improve your business and your presence in the market.
In conclusion, it could be interesting to take a look to a new self-regulating business model, that is becoming hugely important for businesses. We are talking about the Corporate Social Responsibility. By practicing CSR, companies can be conscious of the impact they are having on society including economic, social, and environmental aspects. To engage in CSR means that a company worries about enhancing society and the environment, instead of contributing negatively to it.
Arema Connect can help you to achieve all of these aims. We have a proven track record of assessing internal employee helplines and we are a contact center with more than 17 years of experience.
Contact us for further information!
I am a Communications graduate working as an intern at Arema Connect in a European placement. I have a background in Communications Sciences and foreign languages from University of Calabria and I have worked in a vast range of different activities within Communications departments, press and media. At Arema Connect I am supporting the Marketing department. After the completion of my internship, I would like to travel and gain additional experience in the communications field.