Lessons from First Retail Industry Sustainability Report

image: checklist “RILA's 2012 Retail Sustainability Report, released this morning, offers an interesting look at the evolving philosophy on sustainability within an industry that has the largest energy bills and the second largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the commercial sector of the U.S. economy.” -Environmental Protection Agency.

As the introduction to the report explains, the retail industry now recognizes ‘sustainability’ as not only a core value but as being an essential component to the sector’s success. As a result, sustainability concepts are being introduced into strategy, operations, workforce engagement, consumer interfaces, and community involvement.

Our sustainability takes note of this report’s findings, as the sector seeks cost savings major operating improvements in similar areas of business sustainability interest to most other major industries.  In addition the report spotlights the challenges the industry must overcome in the near future.  Of particular interest to our professional consulting are the defined challenges and ongoing efforts to improve the engagement of the industry’s internal and external stakeholders.  Key issues include:
  • Framing the critical issues
  • Anticipating future trends
  • Recognizing challenges
  • Sharing examples of how retailers are responding


At Taiga Company, our sustainability consulting practice believes that the mark of progress, whether internal or external, is an excellent a point of discussion.  Relative to business sustainability monitoring and reporting, the debate continues on whether a company should focus on transparency and continuous individual improvement or corporate performance measures relative to a broader all-encompassing target.  Rather than separating traditional performance from sustainability, we seek out those who see these as parallel pursuits.  The expanded focus and demonstrated success in the retail industry has moved this sector one step forward to this goal.

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