Sustainability and success: three retailers to learn from

3 minute read

In the not-to-distant past, companies that prided themselves on their contributions to and stewardship of the environment were practically non-existent. Customers had to search far and wide for retailers that met any sort of environmental sustainability standard, and often those searches didn’t yield any actual results.

Fast-forward to today and those days are over. Companies are investing resources into sustainable practices throughout their entire business operations, and it’s customers that are driving the change. A recent Canada Post study found that 41 per cent of online shoppers will shop more from retailers who promote an environmental cause1 and 14 per cent cite a retailer’s commitment to the environment as a deciding factor when choosing where to shop.2 The environment is becoming an increasingly important concern for customers, and merchants that take proactive steps to address that concern are positioning themselves well for the future.

Retailers leading the way

Excessive use of shipping packaging is a top culprit for retailers that contribute to environmental waste. 53 per cent of online shoppers say they will shop more from retailers who make an effort to reduce shipping packaging.3 That’s why many innovative retailers are putting their efforts towards creating programs that make it easy for their customers to recycle.

London Drugs: Bring Back the Pack

Richmond, B.C. based London Drugs is a shining example of a retailer that’s addressing this pain point for customers with its innovative Bring Back the Pack program. Selling everything from cosmetics to TVs, customers are allowed to return the packaging of any product they buy from the store for recycling. Their recycling is all collected centrally and sent to local facilities for responsible processing that’s easier on landfills, convenient for customers and better for the environment. In 2017 alone they were able to recycle over 12 million pounds of packaging from their stores.

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Nespresso: Recycle by mail

Nespresso Canada focused their efforts on creating a fully recyclable solution for its single-serve coffee pods that was also convenient for its customers. Customers are able to place their used aluminum coffee capsules in a recyclable bag provided for free, which they drop off at any post office or street mailbox, at no extra cost. The coffee grounds are separated and composted and the aluminum pods are then recycled. Nespresso Canada’s program is showing its customers that sustainability is a priority for them, which gives them a reason to choose its brand over the competition.

Loch Eyewear: Seeing green

Loch Eyewear from Peterborough, Ont. is another example looking to lead the way in making the eyewear industry more eco-friendly. It makes sunglasses and prescription eyewear from recycled material, but not just any recycled material. Its products are made from old-growth trees that have been preserved in a near-zero oxygen environment at the bottom of the Great Lakes. A key thing to note here is that Loch is not sacrificing quality, aesthetic or convenience; it’s adding value.

As the era of sustainability takes root, customers will search for more products that are sustainable and brands that align with their environmental interests. These forward-thinking retailers are leading the way by identifying that trends come and go, but sustainability is here to stay.

Sources:
1 2 3 Canada Post. 2019 Canadian Online Shopper Study, CPC 19-201, April 2019.

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