Welcome to the beginning of the new retail age, where sustainability and environmental issues are now a major hot topic in the retail industry and in our life.
With the growing media attention on global warming, overflowing landfills, and an overall need to protect the earth, retailers and shopping centers are taking on an active role to spread environmental consciousness.
You may have noticed…
New Sustainable Collections
You may have noticed recently that more global brands are introducing environmentally-friendly collections, such as Zara Join Life or H&M Conscious Collection. According to the brands’ websites, the aim of these special collections is to offer sustainable clothing and products that don’t negatively impact the environment.
Shopping Centers Eco Friendly Investments
You may have also noticed that shopping centers are placing recycling bins, setting up electric vehicle charging stations, installing solar panels, restricting plastic product waste in gastronomy units, and making space for bike parking.
Eco-Friendly Products and Packaging
You may have noticed the general rise of more eco-friendly products and packaging on the market from every retail category – cars, cosmetics, food etc.
A New Retail Trend
This is no coincidence, this is a new global retail trend that will only continue to grow in the coming years. It is also in sync with the current global political environment and the Great Reset agenda promoted by the World Economic Forum.
There is no doubt that retailers and shopping centers in this new age will become greener than ever and will take on a new social responsibility to teach the public to be environmentally aware.
This might not be a shock for people in western countries, like Germany, where recycling and eco-awareness is already ingrained into everyday life, but for eastern countries, this will be a big change.
And this change has already started, with one of the biggest shopping center operators in Central and Eastern Europe launching a “Give Thanks to Nature” campaign across 54 shopping centers in nine countries, including Serbia.
Nepi Rockcastle Gives Thanks to Nature
Nepi Rockcastle, a leading shopping center developer and operator in Europe, launched this month its first program for selective waste collection and recycling in its 54 shopping centers.
The campaign is called “The Nature of THANK YOU!” and is set up to raise awareness among the public on environmental issues. The main goal of the campaign is to encourage and reward recycling and responsible behavior towards the environment.
“The Nature of Thank You campaign is dedicated to preserving, protecting, and improving the quality of the environment by educating the public on how to adapt to a new way of life that is kinder to nature”, stated Nepi Rockcastle press release.
The “Nature of THANK YOU!” Campaign enables all visitors to easily and selectively dispose of all waste. Clearly marked recycling stations for paper/cardboard, plastic, aluminum, and glass. are now placed at strategic locations within the shopping centers.
The program also established a system for selective collection of food waste and reduction of the use of single-use plastics in restaurants and cafes within the shopping centers.
According to Nepi Rockcastle, the initiative aims to promote a circular economy and is an example of an efficient way of protecting the environment by reducing the use of “fresh” resources needed to produce new products. All this aims to preserve natural resources, for the benefit of not only today’s but also future generations.
“By adopting a selective recycling process, shopping center visitors are able to contribute to lowering energy consumption, causing less pollution, creating a cleaner environment, and reducing the amount of waste collected and disposed of in landfills”, Nepi Rockcastle.
The New Role of Shopping Centers
This campaign that Nepi Rockcastle launched gives us an idea of how shopping centers will operate in this new retail age. They will be more focused on social responsibility and will support community development projects.
The socially responsible projects of NEPI Rockcastle are communicated under the group slogan #ResponsiblyTogether in all nine countries in which the company operates. “ResponsiblyTogether” is NEPI’s commitment to supporting community development and bringing together initiatives around three important pillars of sustainability – education, community, and the environment.
Its Time to Go Green
As now environmental consciousness is becoming a bigger cultural and political trend, the global retail industry needs to prepare for change.
I hope you can use this article to make plans for your next investments in developing new shopping centers or updating existing ones. I believe it can also inspire you for your next marketing campaign.
It is time to think and be green. Welcome to the new retail age!
• Most of the waste we generate ends up in landfills or burns. In 2017, 46% of municipal waste generated in the EU-28 and Iceland, Norway and Switzerland was recycled.
• Municipal waste recycling rates vary widely among European countries, ranging from 68% in Germany to 0.3% in Serbia in 2017.
• Every year, globally, we produce 2.12 billion tons of waste that ends up in landfills – 22% is food waste, 19% plastic, 13% paper, 11% leather and textiles. Landfills are among the biggest factors in land pollution – approximately 80% of items buried in landfills could be recycled.
• One recycled plastic bottle saves enough energy to operate a 100 watt bulb for 4 hours. It also creates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than would be created when making a new bottle.
• It takes 500 years for plastic water bottles of average size to completely decompose.
• The energy needed to produce 1.5 million tons of plastic could power 250,000 homes.
• There are 25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while about four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer fill the deep sea. Over 100,000 marine animals die each year from plastic entanglement and ingestion.