We live in a world where the rate of consumerism is growing. And with it, the rate of consumption also increases, impacting our natural resources and the environment at an alarmingly fast pace. Whether humankind will be living on other nearby planets a hundred or two hundred years from now is anyone’s guess. So until then, this is the only place we have to live, and it is our responsibility to take care of our planet and leave it in the best shape as we pass it down to the next generation.
The responsibility is not just limited to the few of us who do our best to recycle or become more mindful of the resources that we consume. This extends to every factory and retailer, whether it be a dairy farm or an electronics store or an e-commerce retailer. It is essential that these businesses not only adopt best practices around sustainability to help reduce their carbon footprint, but also proactively analyze, revise, and share their progress with the world in a transparent manner. Quite a few retailers have Customer Value Officers (CVO) who are responsible for doing this already. Brands such as Best Buy, Nike, Kohl’s, Lands’ End, and Amazon publish detailed sustainability reports annually. However, many other retailers simply release a statement or a paragraph or two about their commitment to the environment, and nothing more.
From a retailer’s standpoint, sustainability needs to be thought of not only from the perspective of conserving energy to save operating costs but also from the perspective of creating an impact and value for its customers through ethically responsible actions that improve economic, social, and environmental conditions. According to Sustainable.org’s Guide to Sustainability, “there are lots of ways in which being more sustainable will help [a retailer]. It will help [them] become more efficient, improve [their] brand value and reputation, provide a platform for innovation, help attract and retain staff, achieve better growth, cut costs and strengthen stakeholder relations.” Further, per McKinsey, retailers with higher environmental, social, and governance metrics are more financially successful and have more public support.
Opportunities to achieve these goals may perhaps be endless, but some ideas include:
- Ensure products are made with non-GMO ingredients
- Source from suppliers who reduce methane and toxic gas emissions
- Ensure the ingredients or parts are sourced ethically
- Integrate alternative materials in products and packaging
- Plan and position alternative products closer to legacy products
- Encourage employees to aid in preventing water pollution and waste in landfills
- Optimize routes for procurement and fulfillment
Every retailer and it’s Office of Sustainability must set public goals. They should leverage technology powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning to help guide them in these initiatives around climate, energy, procurement, fulfillment, or well-being of associates and customers. Kroger, who is an Oracle Retail Merchandising & Planning customer, recently reported that by placing alternative meats closer to actual meats, they boosted their alternative meat sales by 23%, driving the cause for sustainability further.
Additionally, many retailers like Kroger have reported that 50% of consumers prefer shopping with retailers that have clear guidelines on sustainability and labeling, and this helps drive brand value and increases the adoption and sales of private label items (generic items). Oracle Retail Brand Compliance
with its Supplier Compliance and Product Compliance modules can play a significant role in helping streamline the process for a retailer.
Coupled with the above technologies solutions like Oracle Retail Insights
, Oracle Data Cloud
, and Oracle Retail Order Broker
cloud services can help retailers proactively ask the right questions. This technology allows retailers to interpolate consumer behaviors with customer reactions to better guide the retailer towards sustainability from procurement to fulfillment.
If you’re interested in improving sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint for the next generation, please reach out to us to learn more about how our solutions can help you reach those goals faster and smarter.
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