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  • Waste management of packaging materials - Physical supplies are running out faster than previously predicted, competition for remaining resources is intensifying and in the medium-term we are likely to see changing weather patterns that lead to volatile output levels. Many retailers have been working with suppliers to reduce packaging waste associated with the products sold. For example -

    • With the aim to maintain current waste levels despite growth, one global retailer sells its animal by-waste to soap and pet food manufacturers

    • One global retailer uses lighter packaging for ready meals and promotes the recycling of its clothes in partnership with Oxfam

  • Rural livelihoods - The use of retail goods leading to sustainable livelihoods for indigenous artisans and craftsmen is increasing, as locally made handicrafts, fabrics and ecologically beneficent and ‘natural’ products find place in retail outlets that position themselves as sensitive to sustainable business practices.

  • Supply chain dynamics - Greening the supply chain through healthier products and environmental quality is emerging as large international groups who follow a uniform global policy with respect to green procurement enter India. Thus, it is essential to -

    • Ensure key raw materials come from the most sustainable sources

    • Work with suppliers so that vehicles do not travel empty after making deliveries

  • Involving consumers - Retailers need to encourage and help customers to change their behaviours. The retail sector can effectively influence lifestyles changes since it is in daily contact with consumers’ moods, preferences and expectations. Some issues that retailers can explore include -

    • Conducting R&D on healthier options for consumers

    • Educating customers about healthier options and nutritional enrichment of food products

    • Discouraging overconsumption: Replacing “buy one get one free” offers with promotions for greener (low carbon) products could have a significant impact on consumer choice.

PricewaterhouseCoopers

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