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How to deliver Sustainability in Retail with Merchandise & Sourcing Strategies

This PSFK Guide is a sustainability in retail report on strategies to unlock new opportunities & competitive differentiation through a strengthened relationship with customers – and the planet.

Executive Summary

As consumer education around climate science and their concerns for the impact of the products they use grows, shoppers are increasingly favoring retailers with sustainable offerings over those whose products and business models are more harmful to the environment, or who fail to take climate action and set sustainability goals. Brands and retailers are meeting this behavioral shift by embracing sustainable business practices across every element of the product journey, finding that their positive impact can drive efficiencies and secure long-term value and customer loyalty.

Report Overview

From source to sale and beyond, a diverse range of companies across sectors are prioritizing product-based sustainability efforts to unlock new opportunities and drive competitive differentiation through a strengthened relationship with both their customers and the planet. To help our members better understand this increasingly complex and important space, the PSFK iQ research team has identified six key strategies driving innovations in sustainable retail, bringing them to life with recent examples from the marketplace.

What You’ll Learn In This Sustainability in Retail Report

  • How retailers can benefit both from their own sustainability efforts and those of the merchandise partners they buy from.
  • Why taking a holistic approach to environmentally friendly practices has quickly become the new business standard, as consumers, government regulators, and sustainability experts alike call for more operational transparency and accountability.
  • Why many brand manufacturers are rethinking and retooling their supply chain and manufacturing processes to be more efficient in terms of sourcing and production waste, as well as taking a hard look at their overall impact on natural resources.
  • How businesses are making the informed decision to review their product development pipeline and consider alternative natural materials and designs that enable easier repair, recycling, or upcycling of core components to keep them in use and out of landfills.
  • How a business’s material sourcing strategy and the level of transparency in its product supply chain can influence supplier behaviors such as reducing carbon emissions, using renewable energy and clean energy, or halting exploitation of cheap or even slave labor.
  • How companies using education to help their customers and suppliers adopt better behaviors and take incremental actions to achieve larger collective results, along with finding innovative ways to keep both products and their packaging in circulation longer to reverse the effects of yesteryears’ disposal culture.

What’s In This Report?

To help our members better understand this increasingly complex and important space, the PSFK iQ team has identified six key strategies behind innovations in sustainable retail, bringing them to life with recent examples from the marketplace.

This sustainability in retail report includes:

  • 6 strategies for sustainable business including High-Yield Low-Impact Sourcing, Transparent Supply Chain, Packaging-Free Retail, Zero Waste Promotions and Born-Again Merchandise
  • 22 best-in-class examples of eco-conscious business and product design practices including Asda, Aldi, Mercedes-Benz, PVH Corp, Rebecca Minkoff and more
  • Changing consumer insights around expectations driven by heightened eco-consciousness
  • Identified vendors to help your company deliver sustainable business initiatives

Who Prepared This Report?

This sustainability in retail report was developed by the same PSFK research department that since 2004 has provided trends-led innovation consulting advice to Apple, BMW, Facebook/Meta, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Volkswagen.