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Going Green in Retail

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Conservationists and marketers alike agree: “Going Green” is good for business. Whether a business is concerned with its image as a participant is cleaning up the earth and promoting sustainability, interested in reducing costs through the use of “green” technology, or truly concerned about the state of the environment, there are several options available for businesses to help conserve resources and identify as a retail business that is eco-friendly.

Most businesses have a dependency on electronics, electricity and water, and each of these can create a substantial toll on the environment, even if a business is strictly online. Retailers that provide decorative accents like floor vases and botanical accessories, for example, may operate through a drop-ship agreement, eliminating the need for large retail spaces or offices. By eliminating the resources that are a natural part of “brick and mortar” sales, a business can help reduce ecological impact.

If a drop-ship business is not a possibility, there are several other methods to reduce the impact on the environment while still maintaining a thriving retail business. In a retail showroom, the cost of lighting can be extraordinary, but by replacing incandescent or fluorescent bulbs with LED lighting, the cost of electricity can be reduced significantly. Many electricity companies are also beginning to offer devices that attach to cooling systems to help cycle power throughout a community, reducing costs and impact on the natural resources used during the hottest days of summer. Low-flow, water conserving faucets and toilets in bathrooms can save water use and cost, and biodegradable and eco-friendly cleaning products can keep a business safe while reducing the impact on the environment.

For more public declarations of a business’ green status, the elimination of plastic bags can go far in a customer’s eyes in terms of the retailer’s dedication to helping conserve resources. With the different communities that are outlawing plastic bags and incentives for using cloth or other recycled bags, a store’s policy on bagging can be a large part of its ability to present itself as environmentally friendly. Stores can also have depositories for old mobile phones, printer cartridges, or host events that inform the community of the best way to discard old equipment, CFL lighting or household cleaners and paint.

The impact of businesses on the environment can be reduced through several avenues, from basic plumbing and lighting changes to a store policy that reduces and recycles packaging or by promoting sustainable inventory within the store. By controlling the environmental toll taken and giving customers an educational and reassuring experience within a store, or on its website, a business can be assured that its green status will go far in word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat customer transactions.



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