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Magazines Archives - 2011 October

Green Retailing
Story 4 - Focus

Singapore retailers’ ‘eco’ efforts driven by eco-conscious consumers

Taking the “eco” route is not often a consideration for many retailers in Singapore from the onset. When retailing comprises ringing cashtills and keeping costs at a minimum, ensuring the use of recycled bags or sourcing sustainable items are not on the top of every retailer’s checklist.

However, gradually, with retailing transitioning from transactions to an allencompassing experience for the shopper, more retailers are acknowledging that the emerging breed of eco-conscious shoppers are spurring them to implement “eco” measures not only as a part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, but also throughout their entire business operations.

Citing the growing public awareness of environmental issues as the impetus behind the market shift, Jose Raymond, executive director of Singapore Environment Council (SEC), observes:“With more consumers leaning towards sustainable, green and organic products, they will be searching for stores and manufacturers which operate by using environmentally friendly methods and green principles. Retailers will need to be there to meet those needs.”

Attesting to this trend, one retailer, Olive Ventures, driven by this search for environmentally sustainable products as a consumer, decided to take matters into its own hands by opening an eco-store, Choose, which sells environmentally friendly products that it would use.

James Low, managing director of Olive Ventures, explains: “One way to improve eco-friendly products uptake by consumers is to make it easier for them to buy these amazing products. That was when we decided to start Choose.”

Aside from decking the store with a variety of eco-products, Choose has also implemented a number of eco-features, such as “not offering plastic bags, using inverter air-conditioners (set at 27°C), half-flush toilets, and minimal lighting requirements while using energy efficient bulbs”, as well as serving as a collection point for its neighbours and customers for recyclables, such as cans, plastic bottles, paper and other items that its customers no longer use.

Green retail programmes take root in the Philippines

More than ever, a growing number of local retail companies are seriously looking at ways and means to overhaul their systems and operations as well as physical layouts to shrink their carbon footprint.

The idea is to not just care about the bottom line or the profit, but also people and the planet in true triple bottom-line spirit.

It is not just their conscience that is providing the impetus for retailers to change their business approach, but also pragmatic factors such as the potential savings in operating costs as well as the growing preference of Philippine consumers for products and services produced by green-minded stores.

When it comes to the implementation of eco-friendly programmes, one of the more advanced is the SM group of retail companies, the biggest in the Philippines and operator of some of the world’s largest malls.

On August 24 this year, SM Supermalls celebrated its participation in the United Nations International Year of the Forest through the launch of its new line of eco-friendly shopping bags. The Eco Bag is made from hard-wearing non-woven fabric bags sourced from 100% polypropylene, which is proven to be recyclable, non-toxic, allergy-free and non-reactive to human skin. The polypropylene is also durable enough to last up to two years. The attractive design of the bag provides another reason for the millions of SM shoppers to get a bag and use it to hold their purchases.

According to the retailer, about 1.5 million SM Eco Bags have been distributed since their launch in the malls in 2009. Some have even found their way to key cities in Asia, the US and Europe.

India makes a slow but steady move towards green retail practices

Now what does Nokia do with these devices? It works with a few companies which are experts in reclaiming materials from the phones and accessories. The reclamation work is done according to industry standards for reclamation.

The reclaimed parts are used for creating new products, which are optimised for users in developing markets.

Interestingly, Nokia, which has been conducting “take-back” campaigns since the 1990s in coordination with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other nongovernment organisations (NGOs) as part of “producer responsibility”, does not refurbish old phones. It also does not support outlets that refurbish old Nokia instruments on the grounds that it would have no control over the quality or safety of the phones that are resold after restoration.

Consequently, the company is able to collect recycled phones from countries across the globe, including India, and sell the recycled models in countries that lack recycling infrastructure and have a market for lower-end models.

Tashi, India’s first green shoe store
Tata International, the international arm of the Tata group, has been equally successful with Tashi, its speciality retail shoe store chain. The chain, which started operations in October last year, is different from other stores in many ways. It is India’s first green shoe store chain. The Tashi stores also have been planned using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principals and are certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

Tata got the Detroit-based retail design firm JGA and Bangalore-based FRDC (Future Research Design Company) to design the Tashi chain. The inherent design provides for these stores to consume about 40% less energy. Besides, 15%-20% of the power needs of these stores is met through solar energy.

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2011 Oct Stories:

Holiday shopping fazed by global economic malaise
Part 1: Domestic demand will be key to Asian economies and therefore Asian retailing this year

Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2012 put the spotlight on HK as Asia’s fashion hub

FHT 2011 remains a focused networking event for F&B and hospitality industries

Green Retailing

Experts believe social media remains vital to brand recognition

H&M opens on Singapore’s Orchard Road, marking its debut in South-east Asia

SingPost partners PayPal, eBay & Google to launch EZ Suite

Kimberly-Clark expands worldwide innovation capabilities

Taubman Asia takes over Beijing’s TCBL

Big C Supercentre to invest nearly US$10m to create green supply chain

The making of two successful restaurants

Innovating retail management with cloud computing

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