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Other initiatives that ensure sustainability

We present a series of initiatives that retailers can implement in creating sustainable business practices-

  • Carbon Footprinting - A carbon footprint is the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organisation, event or product. Retail space carbon footprint reduction is gaining importance due to the emergence of green building concepts and also the increased focus on establishing energy efficiency in stores.

  • Transportation - Many supermarket chains have been assessing transport usage and are exploring alternatives to transportation and distribution by road. Some global retailers have -

    • Reassessed the locations of warehouses to reduce the number of road miles required

    • Changed their fleet vehicles to use more efficient vehicles and therefore, lower the level of emissions

    • Switched some transportation activities from road to rail

  • Water Footprinting - The water footprint of a business (i.e. the ’corporate water footprint’) is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used directly or indirectly to run and support a business. It is the total volume of water use, to be associated with the use of the business outputs. The water footprint of a business consists of two components -

    • The direct water use by the producer (for producing/manufacturing or for supporting activities)

    • The indirect water use (in the producer’s supply chain) Corporate Water Footprinting further demonstrates how water efficiency fits with a broader climate strategy and leads to greater savings in carbon, energy and costs.

  • Investment in renewable energy - Switching to renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, to operate offices helps reduce carbon emissions. Investing in renewable energy also supports the uptake of green energy which is vital in moving towards a low-carbon economy.

  • Energy/ Green House Gas (GHG) emission label in products -

    • Informing and developing awareness among consumers about energy used and GHG emissions emitted during manufacturing of the product is important.

    • Using more energy-efficient ovens, refrigeration and air-conditioning is important since these tools are the major users of energy in retail stores.

    • Using more efficient lighting, timers and motion detectors that switch off lights when they are not needed.

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

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