Natural Foods Merchandiser
retailer talking to customer Thinkstock/shironosov

3 ways retailers can be part of the climate change solution

Efforts to fight climate change in the retail setting should target these areas.

What is being done to reverse climate change is “not enough fast enough, and we’re aware of that,” says Corinne Shindelar, CEO of Independent Natural Food Retailers Association.

“We’re not going to get resolution from policy or from our government, but we know if we don’t act quick enough, it’s going to be a problem, so what can we do to lead that way to create market-based solutions?”

Natural food retailers can work to help reverse climate change in three major areas, she says.

Within their own company. Retailers should examine their operations to find ways to reduce their own carbon footprints, which many already do and have been doing for years, Shindelar says. “But even then, there’s still more to learn from each other and ways to improve even more,” she adds.

With their customers. Retailers need to educate consumers about how to be climate change agents. Telling the story of what retailers have done and are doing helps customers engage and understand how they can have an effect.

“People want to be part of the solution, but they don’t always know how,” Shindelar says. Retailers can help customers understand the effect of their choices and help them change their lifestyle and shopping habits, such as eating in-season produce or carrying a water bottle rather than buying bottled water.

With their supply chain. Retailers need to “highlight and support the manufacturers, suppliers and distributors that are always making a difference,” she says. That can start with retailers training their team members on what to look for in packaging and how to access more local and regional products, for example, then implement those principles when retailers buy from industry partners.

 

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