Green & Design - March/April 2009 - (Page 20)

focus on retail Green Flags of Opportunity By Justin Doak Let’s face it—retail has certainly been dabbling in green practices over the past couple of years, but the industry as a whole is experiencing a paradigm paralysis, despite the paradigm shift that has occurred in other market sectors. Current economic times undoubtedly slow development, but this shouldn’t halt the pace of innovation— in fact, it should escalate it. Retail’s hesitancy to adopt comprehensive green practices is surprisingly peculiar, especially since retailers are keen to aligning with the likes of the consumer—a consumer who is changing. More than 80 percent of the population shows some type of green motivation, according to new research by the Natural Marketing Institute. For an industry whose success depends upon consumer demand, I raise the first green flag of opportunity for retailers looking to differentiate themselves and capture the attention of a strengthening consumer type. Today, there is a flood of experts coming together to guide retailers through the economic downturn. They call for reductions in quality, product mix and payroll—but why not call for efficiency and resourcefulness in the way energy is used, products are transported and packaged, or materials are reused? Why do we not hear about comprehensive water-use reduction programs, the installation of T5 lighting or the use of on-site renewable energy to leverage the price associated with peak energy demand? Any of these strategies would save a national retailer millions of dollars and lessen the need to trim away the very core competencies and people that built the brand. This is the second green flag of opportunity I’ll raise for retailers planning a store for the future. Perhaps the decision makers in the retail industry have fallen victim to the stigma that green is expensive. The truth, however, is that green is not expensive—change and development 20 | March/April 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green & Design - March/April 2009

Green & Design - March/April 2009
Beyond Fad
Book Review
Generation Green
Green Flags
LEED for Retail
Hola, la Ciudad
Eco-Mountain High
Beautiful Vision
A Better Bean
Under the Influence
Extreme Environmentalist
Leading LEED
To LEED or Not to LEED?
Products: Designer’s Picks
The Many Shades of Green
Ad Index

Green & Design - March/April 2009