“In effect, consumers are adopting something of a ‘post-war’ mindset in that they are now making far more considered purchases.”
According to recent research over half of shoppers would now prioritise retailers who show consistent efforts to be sustainable over those who do not.
Meanwhile those who aren’t up to scratch are increasingly being called out by both the public and their own employees.
To meet demand and entice more conscious consumers to invest in their brand, retailers are increasingly turning to technology to drive sustainability in their stores and supply chains.
Here’s Charged’s list of the top five retailers utilising technology to achieve more sustainable operations.
Tommy Hilfiger recently announced plans to roll out 3D design technology to all of its design teams “allowing us to meet consumer needs faster and in a more sustainable way”.
3D design technology will be incorporated into all of its design operations across its headquarters in Amsterdam, as the retailer aims to make as many of its products exist exclusively as 3D designs until they’re physically manufactured for sale as possible.
To mark the major shift towards technology in its supply chain, Tommy Hilfiger will launch a Fall 2020 capsule collection designed, developed and sold entirely digitally.
“For our Fall 2020 season, our men’s dress shirts will be 100% 3D designed and require no sample production; the difference will be almost indistinguishable from styles designed and presented historically,” chief executive Daniel Grieder said.
“This is the future.”
Tesco signed a deal to see 15,000 solar panels installed on 17 of its stores by the end of this year, amid a major investment in sustainable energy.
EDF Renewables has signed three separate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Tesco, which will see it provide 60 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to the grocery giant.
Alongside the installation of thousands of solar panels, on which construction has already started, EDF will build two onshore windfarms in Scotland to provide power to the retailer.
Last year, the grocer also installed free-to-use electric vehicle (EV) charging points at 100 of its supermarkets across the UK.
Volkswagen and Pod Point partnered with the UK’s largest grocer last year embarking on an initiative which aims to install 2400 free charging points in Tesco car parks.
Waitrose introduced high-tech “invisible doors” across its estate last year in an effort to create more sustainable stores.
The AirDoor technology, developed by Wirth Research uses sensors to detect the flow of air in both directions at the doors of Waitrose stores.
To prevent warm air being lost on colder days, and cold air being lost on warmer days, the system will provide self-generating wind to counteract the flow of air.
Waitrose is set to introduce the AirDoor to its store in Berkhamsted, with plans to roll it out across its wider estate if successful.
Wirth Research says that the AirDoor archway installed around the store’s entrance will cause minimal disruption, and could save British retailers a total of £1.5 billion every year on their energy bills.
Ikea’s parent company Ingka Group extended its commitments for eco stores last year, setting aside £171 million in green energy and sustainable practices.
The furniture retailer will be spending half of that fund on renewable energy projects to support heating and cooling, as well as power.
Ingka said it would do this in partnerships with its suppliers and areas of its supply chain that are traditionally difficult to bring in sustainable measures, such as textile and glass production.
The other half of its £171 million investment will be spent on reforestation to help increase carbon sequestration through trees.
Ikea also invested in returns management start-up Optoro amid plans to “become a circular business by 2030”.
Optoro’s technology, which helps retailers manage and resell returns while reducing waste, will now be rolled out across 10 Ikea distribution centres, 50 retail stores and its customer support centre across the US.
Lidl is set to install rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging points at over a third of its UK store network over the next three years.
All of Lidl’s new store, totalling more than 300 locations, will be equipped with rapid EV charging points by this year as the discounter invests over £25 million in the technology.
A number of existing stores which are able to accommodate the charging points will also be retrofitted as part of the initiative, building on the 40 locations where they’re currently installed in the UK.
“At Lidl, we are committed to tackling the environmental concerns that our customers care most about, whilst giving them access to solutions that will support them in their ambition to lead more sustainable lives,” Lidl’s chief development officer Ingo Fischer said.