$900B in Retail Purchasing Power Seeking Greener Products


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PHILADELPHIA - Five Winds International announced its research results showing that over $900B in retailer purchasing power is now seeking greener products and including 'green' as part of retail buyers' selection criteria. All retail sectors and product categories are affected, with over 50 retailer programs aimed at improving the environmental footprint of both products and packaging. Almost half of the retailers' programs now evaluate a product's environmental performance as part of a buying decision, indicating that sustainability is no longer a voluntary partnership proposition between trade partners, but a retailer requirement that must be met by consumer goods suppliers.

'Sustainability has clearly become a retailer requirement with wide ranging implications for consumer good suppliers. Business strategies that rely mainly on 'green' marketing savvy to gain competitive advantage will no longer be enough; suppliers now need to understand and improve their products' environmental footprints if the they want to maintain shelf space.' explains Libby Bernick, who leads Five Winds' retail sector services.

The research, which looked at whether retailers are taking significant steps to increase the number of greener products on their shelves, investigated the sustainability programs of 25 retailers in North America and Europe, including the world's ten largest retailers as well as high-profile stores like Marks & Spencer, Whole Foods, and Boots. Eighty percent of the top retailers now have a program to source greener products. Out of the 50+ programs investigated, almost 25% are seeking products that meet a particular green performance standard. In addition to these product specific requirements, a growing number of retailers are also asking consumer good suppliers to report on their overall corporate sustainability performance. 

'Retailers are now suggesting that greener products come from greener companies,' explains Kevin Brady, Five Winds co-founder and Director of strategic sustainability services. 'Consumer goods suppliers with sustainability programs focused on marketing a few flagship green brands will now need to address organizational performance and develop strategic approaches to embed sustainability across all business operations.'

The white paper, Retail: Stocking the Shelves with Green, is available for download at GreenBiz.com and is part of Five Winds' retail initiative developed to support brand managers and sustainability managers at consumer goods manufacturers. Tools available on Five Winds' new retail webpage include RetailReadyInsightTM, white papers, a free on-line calculator for suppliers who want to tally their score on Walmart's Supplier Sustainability Assessment questionnaire, and regular blog updates on key issues. The new webpage and retail tools can be found at http://www.fivewinds.com/english/retail/retail-stocking-the-shelves-with-green.html

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