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5 ways to run a shop in the social responsible way

Customers today have become more aware of how their lifestyle and shopping habits affect the condition of our planet. They also expect socially responsible attitudes from companies. What actions should be taken in the store to conduct it in the spirit of corporate social responsibility (CSR)?

1. Invest in green technologies.

If you want to run a responsible business, minimise energy consumption and reduce the emission of environmentally harmful compounds. High inflation and rising energy prices are today additional incentives to invest in ecological solutions.

According to the global provider of energy solutions Schneider Electric, commercial facilities are today the largest energy consumers among non-residential buildings in Europe. By decreasing their carbon footprint and emissions, retailers can reduce their negative impact on the planet while improving brand image and reducing costs.

We also had similar goals at Ergo Store, when we decided to supply our warehouse building with energy from photovoltaic panels. This solution provides us with energy self-sufficiency and a healthy ecosystem.

2.  Introduce sustainable products to your offer.

The research of the Polish company, Kantar shows that 43 percent. consumers can opt out of buying products because of their negative environmental or social impact.

Today, the awareness of this dependency is growing among clothing brands. Shoe manufacturers Veja and Allbirds, the LA Reformation fashion brand are examples of new generation companies leading the change in fashion industry and gaining mass followings thanks to their ability to combine cool styling with strong eco-friendly credentials.

Also in the category of fast moving consumer goods, independent companies focus on ethical and sustainable business models. A great example is the British smoothie brand Innocent Drink, which has built its reputation on the production of natural, healthy drinks, and has the appropriate ecological certificates.

3.  Use recycled, reusable and biodegradable packaging

The introduction of mandatory fees for plastic bags in 2018 drew attention to the amount of unnecessary packaging brought home after each purchase. Consumers have learned to take reusable nets to stores. The chains took care of the availability of more expensive, but reusable bags. Some stores have introduced paper packaging, which works well when the purchased goods are clothes or home accessories, but not necessarily in case of food products.

Activists and consumers continue to urge retailers to do more to reduce the amount of plastic packaging used in stores.

Biodegradable packaging made of plant-based materials such as starch and cellulose, which breaks down in a more environmentally friendly manner than plastic, is becoming more and more common.

So it’s time to explore how you can cut down on plastic in your own business and find more environmentally friendly alternatives.

4. Bet on second-hand articles

More and more consumers are choosing to buy second-hand goods. A report by thredUP, the largest online thrift store, found that in the last three years the entire used products market has grown 21 times faster than the retail apparel market.

Second-hand goods are popular with consumers for two main reasons: 1. They help to reduce the environmental impact of their purchases – for example, reusing clothes helps to reduce the amount of pollution generated by the garment industry, which is the second largest polluter of the environment. 2. They are affordable, enabling people to get goods that they perhaps wouldn’t have been able to afford new.

Second hand is a business that opens up new opportunities to increase interest in articles and boost their value.

5. Design a more ecological interior

Clothing brand Reformation stores have a Green Business certificate, meaning, among others, incorporating materials such as LED fixtures or insulation made of recycled fabric.

IKEA’s sustainable store in London Greenwich is built from a range of renewable materials – the roof is covered with solar panels that power the store, and the building collects rainwater to halve its water consumption

At Ergo Store, when designing stores for our customers, we pay attention to whether the materials we use, such as wood, steel or plastics, come from trusted and certified places, safe for the environment and our employees. For example, we use wood raw materials certified by FSC, i.e. Forest Stewardship Council. It confirms that the product comes from areas where there is no robbery of forest areas.

When designing our office, we focused on recycled materials – in the construction of partition walls we used bricks from demolition, and the veneer made of this brick became a very characteristic decorative element. We write more about green solutions in our office here. Our activities to protect the environment are officially confirmed by the Green Companies EkoBiznesPolska certificate.

Sustainable store – an investment that pays off

With the growing number of consumers expressing their interest and concern for sustainable development, being green is not only an ethical but also a business choice. Running a store in the spirit of social responsibility is now an investment that will certainly pay off.

Photo:  Priscilla Du Preez, Thom Bradley / Unsplash

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ul. Płk. Ryszarda Kuklińskiego 17A
30-720 Kraków

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