Consumers are becoming more aware of the environment in today’s market and as a result, willing to spend more to buy environment friendly products. To answer this heightened awareness, many retailers are responding to consumer demands for planet friendly products and environmentally responsible practices. While some retailers only see the cash register green that can be gained from promoting and exploiting this latest consumer trend, other retailers see a cause that desperately needs the cooperation of the retail industry in order to advance.
Whole Foods set the green standard for bagging long ago. They have encouraged the recycling and reuse of bags and paying back the customers who bring their own bags since inception.
Something from concepts like EcoShoppe that deserves attention is their use of “seed paper” for in-store signage. The store will print its promotional signs on this special seed paper (with soy ink) and instead of throwing the signs away when the promotion is over, the EcoShoppe employees will cut them up and give the pieces to customers. Customers can then plant the paper scraps in the ground in order to grow wildflowers from the seeds that were embedded into the paper in the manufacturing process.
Other U.S. retailers that are proving their green commitment in a tangible way earned a spot on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power list for the first quarter of 2009. This EPA list recognizes American corporations that are purchasing green power to run their operations.
Wind, solar, and biomass energy are examples of “green power” which is energy that is generated from renewable resources. Businesses and consumers often have a choice to purchase green power, although to do so often means a higher utility bill. Of the top 50 green power purchasers on the EPA list, 23 of them are from the retail industry, which is a proud retail accomplishment.
Green Power List Whole Foods Market topped the list with 100% of its energy being green power. Whole Foods uses 463,128 megawatt-hours of biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar and wind power.
Starbucks has 20% of its 150,000 megawatt-hours being wind power.
Safeway purchases wind power for 2% of the 87,000 megawatt-hours it uses annually. Staples purchases biogas, biomass, solar and wind power for 10% of the 49,457 megawatt-hours it uses annually.
FedEx Office purchases green power for 15% of its 40,600 megawatt-hours used annually. The company did not specify which types of green power it purchases.
HEB's Austin region operations purchase biogas and wind power for 26% of the 27,600 megawatt-hours used annually.
Liz Claiborne' corporate headquarters uses wind power for 100% of its 25,000 megawatt-hours used annually.
prAna also uses wind power for 100% of its 16,500 megawatt-hours.
Lowe's Home Centers in North Carolina, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas use biogas, solar and wind power for 4% of their 16,473 megawatt-hours.
Shaw's Supermarkets in Rhode Island rounds out the list with 6% of its 2,000 megawatt-hours coming form biogas and solar power.