The rapid growth of the world’s population has led to greater stresses and strains being put on supply chains all over the world, from fashion retailers to supermarkets. This rising demand on resources is putting major pressure on biodiversity and as a result of the changes, the WWF has launched a new strategy model.
It is simply entitled PPP, which stands for People, Planet and Profit and puts a major emphasis on green retail across the globe, with a focus on supply chains, the promotion of green product lines and the level of demand for goods around the world, which is increasing at a significant pace at the moment.
The likes of China, Brazil and India are booming economically, which is leading to a rapid rise of the consumer mentality, with people in these nations looking to buy the best and latest goods from retailers all over the world.
With these ever expanding supply chains, retailers have put an increased focus on sustainability and the element is now an important consideration for the industry as a whole. It has a major influence on strategy, operations, workforce engagement and relationships with consumers and communities that businesses operate in.
Customer awareness of green issues and the environment has also brought sustainability into the public eye and means that retailers can no longer ignore calls to clean up their supply chain, improve environmental practices and develop stronger levels of corporate responsibility.
Mr Ravi Singh, secretary general and chief executive of WWF-India, said: “The global green retailer movement covers a wide spectrum of issues from reducing energy, greenhouse gases, waste, and chemicals, employee empowerment to innovate. However, the core focus for the retail industry should be to ensure sustainable product lines and sustainable supply chains.
“Across the global retail segment, companies like Marks & Spencer, Walmart, IKEA and others have adopted proactive sustainability agendas, particularly in establishing sustainable product lines across their supply chains.”
Marks & Spencer’s dedication to improving its supply chain has been huge in recent years, with the retailer pumping vast amounts of time and effort into its desire to boost sustainability.
It recently picked up the Guardian Sustainable Business supply chain award for implementing change within its supply chain on the back of its Plan A programme, which was launched back in 2007 and set out 100 commitments that aimed to transform the supply chain for the better in just four years.
The plan has since been extended to 180 commitments, which the retailer hopes to complete by the end of 2015, with the ultimate goal of creating and managing the most sustainable major retail supply chain.
Mr Singh explained that many companies have committed to the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), which has helped remove deforestation for their supply chains as well as encouraging the purchasing of sustainable products from suppliers around the world.
At a recent panel discussion on “Sustainability In Retail: A Triple Bottom-Line Approach: as a part of Retail Leadership Summit-2013”, attendees discussed the rationale for promoting Green Retail in India in particular, as the industry is set for a boom in the coming years, as more and more foreign businesses line up to tap into the market, which has been off limits for a number of years.
It covered the global trends driving sustainability across the retail sector, the initiatives being undertaken and shared best practices across the sector that have helped businesses maximize profits, mitigate risks, while reducing their social and environmental impact. The panel was organised by WWF-India in partnership with RAI, as part of the Retail Leadership Summit 2013.
Mr Jamshyd Godrej, trustee and president emeritus, WWF-India, who served on the panel at the discussion, said that it is more important than ever for the retail industry in the nation to recognise the need for efficient and profitable business, while having an eye on the environment.
Innovation is key for Indian retailers to be competitive and therefore adopting a green strategy could be a strong differentiating factor for them, the WWF concluded.