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Sustainability and green marketing—the story is unfolding in indian retail

Sustainability is becoming a business imperative and involves securing businesses for the future. Sustainability issues are affecting retailers across every point of the business model. Converging influences are forcing sustainability issues to the top of the corporate agenda and are impacting every function and business unit. Consumer awareness, pressure on commodity and energy prices, scarcity of raw materials, together with regulator and competitor actions are combining to ensure businesses cannot ignore the environmental and social dimensions of how they operate. Understanding the strategic implications of the drive for sustainability and factoring it into corporate decision-making is to secure the future and enhance commercial performance.

The convergence of company goals, consumer preferences, environmental imperatives and government encouragement will usher in new sustainable business practices that will help generate profits, meet client expectations and enable companies to become better corporate citizens.


With increasing media coverage commenting on environmental issues, consumers are becoming concerned about sustainability and ethical practices. Environmentally-conscious consumers are purchasing hybrid electric cars, avoiding acquisitions of leather and fur-based products, switching to vegetarianism, etc.


Some companies are revising business strategies and embarking upon sustainable business practices to appeal to their target consumers. Companies who recognise their role as citizens in a larger community are integrating environmental objectives into their profit-related objectives.


Governments across geographies are encouraging companies to adopt environmentally safe production/consumption practices and selling methods. For example, governments in some countries provide tax benefits to consumers who purchase hybrid car. Other countries plan to ban the use of plastic bags to encourage more environment-friendly practices.

Competitive forces

Some firms are electing to undertake green marketing in response to competitive pressures, whereby companies in their peerset have committed to reducing the impact of their products on the environment by reducing emissions, re-examining their production processes (i.e., substituting old production techniques with new green techniques), etc. Green marketing can also serve as a means to differentiate companies in the marketplace.

Sustainability has internal and external implications for costs, risks and commercial performance. The commercial logic for assessing and minimising energy, carbon, water and commodity usage is clear. A more efficient use of key inputs and reductions in waste offers cost-saving opportunities. Furthermore, underlying structural changes in the world economy, such as continued growth in the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, means that competition for resources is intensifying; resource scarcity is likely to become a major issue in the future.

Strategic Issues for Retail CEOs* : Perspectives on Operating in India’s Retail Sector

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