The Retail Industry Leaders Association recently introduced its third Retail Sustainability Report, a publication that identifies core components of retailers’ sustainability programs and benchmarks how the industry is progressing on key sustainability indicators.
The report tracks the current status and projections of 42 retail companies’ energy programs along 27 dimensions that together define an effective retail sustainability program. The report aligns with a tool released earlier this year by RILA called the Retail Sustainability Management Maturity Model.
In addition to detailing retailers’ current status along each dimension, the report notes where they expect to be in 2017. This provides a valuable snapshot of both current progress as well as future expectations.
Food retailers mentioned in the report include Kroger, Walmart, Target, Whole Foods and Loblaw. Suppliers include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle.
“Retailers’ sustainability programs continue to evolve as their focus is honed, business resources are aligned, and the breadth of activities expand,” said Adam Siegel, vice president of sustainability and compliance at RILA. “As more retailers build their sustainability strategies and report on their successes, they will further solidify the business case for sustainability. That, in turn, will increase commitment to these programs and expand programs' resources, building momentum across the industry.”
Among the 27 dimensions measured in the Retail Sustainability Report, there are several key findings of note. Strategy, metrics and measurement, collaborative involvement, warehouses and distribution centers, and waste and recycling currently rank as the most mature dimensions for the industry, meaning that retailers have made the most progress in these areas to date. Conversely, the dimensions in which retail companies are just in the starting phase of development are incentives and stakeholder engagement. The sustainability program dimensions that retailers project will grow significantly in the next two years are strategy, materiality and risk identification, goals, governance and executive engagement, employee engagement, marketing campaigns, warehouse and distribution centers, supplier engagement, and waste and recycling.
This third Retail Sustainability Report compliments the first two reports by providing a detailed view of current and future maturity. The previous reports highlighted the major trends and best practices in the industry in a case-study format.
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