Study Results Show Retailers Serious about Green Performance


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PHILADELPHIA - Five Winds International announced's publication of its benchmarking study of the sustainability performance of major retailers. The analysis shows that Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Walmart, Target, and other big retailers are putting policies, management systems, and programs in place to drive higher environmental and social performance in their own organizations and across their supply chains. The paper — the second in Five Winds' three-part GreenBiz series about retailers' rising role in sustainability — graphically ranks retailers' environmental, social and governance practices and also provides strategic guidance for retailers and consumer goods suppliers.

'The results show that big players in the sector are serious about improving performance,' explains Kevin Brady, Five Winds' co-founder and Director of strategic sustainability services, 'and the level of activity and investments require to reach the level of performance we are seeing is an indication that sustainability will be a strategy priority within the sector for years to come'.

Recent news reports have cataloged retailers' efforts to improve sustainability performance, but it was not clear how far and how deep retailers were embedding environmental, social and governance of sustainability into their management structure and internal business practices. To shed some light on retailers' performance, Five Winds' benchmarked over 400 performance business practices, and the results show that the leading companies are 'walking the talk' with comprehensive sustainability initiatives. Companies like TESCO, Marks & Spencer, and Wal‐Mart are differentiating themselves and setting best practice by branding their sustainability efforts, setting clear priorities, and establishing comprehensive implementation programs. Other retailers who want to claim leadership in sustainability will need to look holistically at these leaders' efforts.

'Retailers can use the study results to inform their strategies and tactics, but the findings also have important implications for consumer goods suppliers who want to better understand their major trade partners' sustainability efforts and align their product strategies,' explains Libby Bernick, who leads Five Winds' retail sector services.

The white paper, Retail: A Sustainability Benchmark, is available for download at 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

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