High Level Green Retail Strategies Emerge at the Innovation Summit
August 9, 2012
By Murray Forseter
“We’re not doing something because it makes us feel better. Sustainability helps us operate for less.”
|Fred Bedore speaking at the Summit.|
With that declaration, Fred Bedore, senior director sustainability of Walmart, exhorted attendees at the inaugural Green Retail Decisions Innovation Summit to join the green retailing movement.
Speaking before executives of 22 retail companies with nearly 60,000 stores and combined sales of almost $1 trillion, as well as representatives of nine sustainability suppliers, Bedore explained Walmart’s commitment to help customers save money and live better through green initiatives.
Throughout the day-and-a-half inaugural conference at the Rosemont Hilton Hotel July 31-August 1, several themes were evident. Among them:
- Setting corporate goals is important.
- Participation throughout the company breeds success. Walmart uses Sustainable Value Networks to assess its programs, while Kohl’s associates work together in Green Networks.
- It’s important to know about regulations that must be complied with. Walmart also considers what more it could do and where it could show leadership.
- The low hanging fruit in sustainable programs is in energy management. But initiatives of major import can be developed in waste management, water management, packaging and transportation/logistics.
- Central to any sustainability program is the collection of data and the strategic analysis of its meaning.
- To win support from senior management, green programs must show a positive return on investment. Advocates can gain support by showing examples of success inside and outside their respective organizations. They could also gain converts by showing the risk of doing nothing exceeds the risk of implementing green programs.
Summit Retail Panel moderated by John Failla (left), founder and publisher of Green Retail Decisions. Seated, from left to right: Menno Enters of Walgreens, Bob Valair of Staples, and L.J. Mohan of Ralph Lauren.
In addition to hearing from Bedore, attendees gleaned the perspectives of three other retailers who participated on a panel -- L.J. Mohan, vice president of facilities and energy engineering for Ralph Lauren Corp.; Bob Valair, director energy and environmental management for Staples; and Menno Enters, director energy and sustainability for Walgreens. Summit attendees also received an update on the solar power market from Julie Hamm, president and CEO of Solar Electric Power Association.
|Julie Hamm addresses retail solar power opportunities.|
Supplier Boardroom Briefings and One-on-One meetings with leading industry solutions providers filled out the rest of the program developed with input from a retail advisory board of executives from Ahold, Kohl’s, Staples, Ralph Lauren, Macy’s, Kroger, Limited Brands, REI, Cinemark USA and Supervalu.
Other retail companies attending the Summit included Toys R Us, Belk, Circle K, Family Dollar, Sears, TJX Companies, Target, HEB, Petsmart, Office Depot, and HealthSouth.
Sustainability Partners of the Green Retail Decisions Innovation Summit were IBM and CA Technologies.
Summit Sponsors included Constellation Energy, CustomerFirst Renewables, Noble Americas Energy Solutions, Phoenix Energy Solutions, Plug Power, SoCore Energy and Solar City.
For more information on the 2013 Innovation Summit contact Green Retail Decisions Founder and President John Failla at email@example.com.
GRD Views: I’d like to add my personal thanks to the retailers, suppliers and advisory board members that made our inaugural Innovation Summit a success. Consistent with our mission, this annual event will help advance adoption of sustainable business practices in the retail industry. -- John Failla for Green Retail Decisions
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