The green retail checklist, step 4


Welcome back to our green enterprise checklist for retailers. In my previous posts, I described how to create a vision for sustainability, how to evaluate your operations and your merchandise. The next area on our checklist is evaluating your supplies.

Your Supplies

Plastic bags are environmental enemy No. 1 in the retail world. An estimated 1.2 million barrels of oil are needed to make all the plastic bags used in Canada each year. Retailers – notably grocers like Loblaws – are responding by charging a fee for plastic bags to encourage customers to bring their own bags. Other steps you can take:

  1. Recyclable wrapping materials:
  2. Eliminate excess packaging:
    • Buy from suppliers who are actively reducing the amount of packaging shipped with products, and lobby non-compliant suppliers by sharing your green vision and asking them to implement sustainable strategies of their own.
    • Wal-Mart and other major retailers have developed standards and requirements for their suppliers which highlight environmental concerns while controlling product, energy, and waste disposal costs.
  3. Limit use of plastics:
    • Stock “concentrated” products from manufacturers that are made with less water as a means of shrinking the size of plastic containers.
    • This also reduces the environmental impact associated with shipping.
  4. Classify your waste:
    • Figure out what can be saved and reused.
    • For example, refurbish shopping carts instead of replacing them.
    • Use rechargeable batteries for in-store displays.
    • Standardized the use of reusable crates and totes rather than cardboard boxes for shipping.
    • Work with municipalities to ensure your stores fully participate in local recycling programs.
    • Implement a recycling policy with blue-box areas for office supplies, bottles, cans, papers etc. If available, add green bin recycling.
    • Visit municipal websites or call 311 to inquire about recycling programs.

Check back next week as we continue this series. The full list of posts is after the jump. The Green Retail Checklist

The Green Retail Checklist

Step 1: Create the vision

Step 2: Evaluate your operations

Step 3: Evaluate your merchandise

Step 4: Evaluate your supplies

Step 5: Evaluate your Advertising and Marketing

Step 6: Evaluate your People


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  1. Hello Ann,
    I was wondering if you know of any fashion retailers that have stopped using a type of packaging all together (e.g., stickers, ribbons, tissue)? If so, who and what types of packaging?

  2. Hi Candace,
    I have not heard of any fashion retailers who have stopped using a type of packaging all together but I expect that some may be considering ways to reduce or elimate it.
    By far the largest bagging issue is the elimination of the shopping bag and more and more retailers in Canada are adding their name to this list just recently Ikea Canada and the LCBO.
    Where I live in Toronto Canada the City has just instituted a new by law which will force all retailers in the city to charge a minimum of 5 cents per plastic bag.

  3. Pingback: The green retail checklist, step 3 - SAS Voices

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