What retailers can learn from Hain Celestial

What retailers can learn from Hain Celestial

Looking through Hain Celestial’s 2011 Social Responsibility Report, I can’t help but think the world would be just a little better if more businesses made health and sustainability top priorities. With a mission to promote community and the environment, here’s a look at what the company achieved in 2011 and some suggestions of how you could do the same in your store.

Healthier packaging

In 2008, Hain set a goal to reduce packaging (by weight) by 5 percent in five years. The company hit their target ahead of schedule this year through changes in packaging format selection, use of bulk packaging and changes in product size among other things.  

Your takeaway: While retailers aren’t entirely able to influence manufacturers' packaging decisions, you can encourage companies to look at more sustainable options that will support their bottom line and potentially increase your shelf space. When Plum Organics Baby Food switched from single-serve glass jars to BPA-free pouches, the new lightweight packaging allowed up to nine times more product per truckload and allowed retailers to stock more products. That’s a win, win.

Healthier environment

In the company’s headquarters, Hain reduced paper usage by over 672 reams. When you consider that one ream requires approximately 6 percent of a tree, the company saved one tree for every 16 reams or 42 trees in just one office. Hain also installed 1000m2 of solar panels on the roof of one the company’s plants in France. The panels are expected to reduce the facilities carbon footprint next year by 30 percent.

Your takeaway: While installing solar panels, may not be in every retailer's budget, there are lower cost ways to conserve energy. Energystar.gov will let you track energy and water consumption and provides free tools for reducing usage.

"It’s important to track your use," says Anna Stark, program manager for Energy Star commercial properties. "If you change to more efficient lights but leave them on all the time, you’re not going to save energy. Even such no-cost and low-cost measures as shutting off the lights and using motion-sensor lights in the bathrooms and back rooms can save 10 percent or more."

Healthy employees

Hain promotes promotes employee health and wellness through a variety of programs including: sports teams and intercompany games, financial support for gym memberships and a bonus vacation day for 50 annual visits. The company offers flex time for charity walking and running events and supports proactive goals such as weight loss through the company’s help line.

Your takeaway: Supporting similar initiatives in your store can help you manage healthcare costs and sick days, and boost employee productivity during the week.

Click here for Hain's full sustainability report.  

What initatives do you have in place at your store? Share in the comments.

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