The three green R’s fill our collective consciousness: reduce, reuse, recycle. The nation has finally grasped recycling, even though reducing and reusing purposefully precede it in the mantra. But to truly green our businesses, we should adopt a fourth R—reimagine.
Imagination drives innovation. Envision self-sustaining buildings that:
• Create all the energy they need not from simple solar cells but walls covered with blades of fake grass that blow like mini windmills.
• Reduce water consumption dramatically by gathering and recycling beyond today’s simple rain barrel catch systems.
• Grow produce for retail in integrated green forms that grow all around the building not just on the rooftop.
Engineers have imagined such not-yet-practical feats. Yet dreams of creating a more sustainable world drive many in the natural foods business in ways simple and seemingly surreal today.
The pure passion and drive inspires.
Take MOM’s Organic Market, which operates with the purpose “to protect and restore the environment.” This growing Washington, D.C.-area chain uses this simple statement to guide all that it does—on its shelves, with its facilities and in its greater communities. Supermarket News, a Natural Foods Merchandiser sister publication, gave the company its 2013 Sustainability Excellence Award in the independent category.
On the opposite coast, in another Washington, PCC Natural Markets makes sustainability one of its important pillars of advocacy and practice. We highlight just one of the cooperative’s interesting projects in 4 ways to green up your natural retail store.
The store In.gredients, ironically situated in the birthplace of Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, spins not only the word “ingredients” but the whole concept of a natural foods store as it strives to achieve zero waste by focusing on package-free bulk and selling local foods with pure ingredients.
These stores imagine and invest in big change, but small things add up every day. That’s why we turned to natural and green leaders Mark Fergusson of Down to Earth Organic and Natural and Joe Nolan of Good Harvest Market to help offer insights on four practical things retailers should consider as part of their sustainability plans.
We strive each month to re-imagine business as we know it today, to look into the future, to offer insights for building better business, to help our industry strive to be the best it can be.
I hope our look at greening your business will inspire you to reimagine your operation. And if you have a story to tell, we’d love to hear it.