Ethical and Green Retailing - UK - September 2009
This report focuses on consumer awareness of the issues and how their behaviour has changed in response to changing economic and environmental conditions. It identifies whether consumer action on environmental issues is increasing and assesses whether retailers need to do more on environmental and ethical issues as a consequence.
Key issues covered in the analysis:
The economy is in recession and key indicators, such as rising unemployment, suggest that many more households are going to be adversely affected before the economic cycle begins to swing upwards.
Climate change and the consumption of resources at unsustainable rates remain issues that have a much longer-term perspective than an economic downturn (even if it were to last three or five years), especially as leading retailers acknowledge that action on climate change is failing and that on current trends, targets to reduce carbon footprint are not going to be met.
The retail industry, although not in itself a massive consumer of energy or generator of greenhouse gases relative to other industries, is expected to be at the forefront of action on climate change because it is at the heart of consumerism.
Retailers complete the link in the supply chain from manufacturer to consumer and as such have a clear responsibility to deliver environmentally friendlier and ethically sourced products that consumers can trust.
Nevertheless, retailers have to fulfil their commercial objectives for growth epitomised by sustained store expansion, especially among the biggest companies that continue to grow their market share, and this means many leading businesses have a growing carbon footprint at a time when green-minded consumers might have hoped (or expected) the reverse to be true.
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