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The Sustainable High Street

A recent Garnier study found that two-thirds of consumers want to make more sustainable choices in their shopping patterns. Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever emphasised the importance of retailers moving sustainability up their agenda, “any company that wants to stay relevant in the future should think about sustainable behaviour.”

The Sustainable High Street

Shoppers have become more conscious of how their lifestyle and habits effect the planet, and they now expect businesses to do the same, it is these retailers that consumers will align with and establish stronger relationships and build brand loyalty with. From preloved clothes to accreditations to sustainable store design retailers need to act now to keep their customers engaged and to stake their place within the market.

Selfridges are leading the way within the luxury market with their Project Earth initiative. Their Director of Sustainability states, “Project Earth is about us taking radical action in response to the climate crisis. Our ambitious commitments to science-based targets and a net-zero future underpin us, alongside our commitment to ensuring that the most environmentally impactful materials used right across our business come from certified, sustainable sources.” The brand is highlighting the benefits of circular shopping experiences to customers allowing them to rent luxury items, shop and sell their preloved items, as well as repair and restore their luxury items, they are covering all bases for consumers and exploring how now to close the loop on retail waste. Within the retail environment, they have developed standalone Repair Concierge within stores, allowing for drop-off repairs while you browse the rest of the stores.  As well as refill stations for perfumes and make-up, and The Restory – a dedicated service to restore designer shoes and bags, they are creating the ultimate conscious shopper experience.

Selfridges Repair Concerige

Stella McCartney has had sustainability at the forefront of her brand from the beginning. Her store in Old Brompton Street London has laid claim to the most sustainable store within the capital. Using ethically sourced materials such as recycled foam and using waste paper from their London offices to create paper-mâché wall features, combine this will biodegradable mannequins and projected moving images and messages communicating the brand’s ethos, they are creating a luxury retail experience while educating the shopper.Stella McCartney London

London stores have really become the playing field for Sustainable Retail design. Bottletop has become the world’s first zero-waste store, using 3D printers and recycled plastic waste to build their flagship store, sustainability is at the core of their brand, and by investing in sustainable design they are showing consumers that it is not just a marketing buzzword to them.

It is not just Luxury brands that are making their way to sustainable retail. Ikea opened its most sustainable store yet in 2020 in London. Using renewable construction materials, it uses a number of green technologies such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting, LED lighting, and a wildlife roof garden, creating an eco-sanctuary in Central London. They have also used digital displays throughout the store, in their Learning Lab shoppers can learn about what materials are used in their products and how technology can be used to make customer’s homes more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

IKEA Greenwich

While many retailers have been hesitant to make the changes, there are many benefits of moving to a more sustainable retail model. Schneider Electrical has found that retail buildings are the largest consumers among non-residential buildings in Europe, contributing $20bn each year. By moving towards greener practices, it is proven not only to reduce the impact on the planet but also to save money. The best part of being a more sustainable business? It makes you a part of the solution. Sustainability has become a powerful value proposition to increasingly conscious consumers. It shows that you are aware of the social and environmental issues facing society, and want to alleviate the ways you contribute to them as a retailer. This is a win for your brand, and for the planet.

Reach out to the Grant Fit Out team to continue the conversation on sustainable retail design.