The retail env ironments industry typically doesn’t do a great job of marketing
sustainability efforts, according
to A.R.E.’s 2014 Green Building
Nearly a third of retailers sur
veyed (32%) devote a section of
their website to environmental
and/or social responsibility, less
than a quarter (23%) mention
sustainability via social media,
and 9% mention sustainability
in company advertising.
And although 92% of suppli
ers offer sustainable products or
services for retail projects, only
half devote a section of their
website to environmental and/
or social responsibility. Nearly
a third (32%) mention sustain
ability via social media, and about a quarter
(26%) mention sustainability in company
For suppliers, marketing green goods
and services can appeal to specifiers. And
for retailers, it can pay off to market sus
tainability. More than half (55%) of global
respondents in Nielsen’s recent corporate
social responsibility survey are willing to
pay extra for products and services from
companies that are committed to positive
social and environmental impact.
The data inspires us to educate and
inform consumers on our sustainability
efforts. If you spotlight your efforts and
engage with your audience, it will help
bridge the gap between the ideals of a sus
tainable future and the realities of today.
Here are some organizations engaging
and educating their market in sustainability.
Whole Foods Market offers Green Living
resources, including suggestions for prac
tical ways for consumers to inject green liv
ing habits into their daily routines. Placards
throughout the store describe the materials
used to create the store environment.
Starbucks describes the company’s efforts
in wastereduction, global awareness, and
sustainability with videos and blog posts.
Tim Hortons publishes a corporate sus
tainability report, with a grade by the Global
Reporting Initiative, progress on its own ini
tiatives, and stories of initiatives relative to
customers. And an interactive online tour
of a LEEDcertified store educates custom
ers about design strategies.
Patagonia not only tells consumers about
its own sustainable efforts and involves
them in its Common Threads Partnership
to reuse and recycle clothing, but the
retailer keeps them apprised of its efforts
to green its supply chain in The Footprint
Chronicles. “The goal is to use transparency
about our supply chain to help us reduce
our adverse social and environmental
impacts and on an industrial scale. We’ve
been in business long enough to know that
when we can reduce or eliminate a harm,
other businesses will be eager to follow
suit,” the company notes.
Nike has a Better World Ini
tiative web page that tells sus
tainable stories its customers
can understand. One life cycle
visual shows the transforma
tion from plastic water bottles to
thread for clothing, specifically
The Brazilian National Football
team’s jerseys. Each jersey cap
tured nine bottles!
Another program is Nike’s
materials sustainability index,
which assigns scores to materi
als used in production based on
sustainability factors such as the
amount of water they require.
Glumac, a West Coastbased engi
neering firm, sponsors a video
series called Straight Talk, in
which green building thought leaders share
ideas, strategies, and perspectives.
Global design firm Gensler presents
key sustainable metrics such as number of
LEEDcertified projects on its website. The
company engages and educates visitors with
project videos and blogs such as Healthy By
Design: How Design Impacts Well-Being.
AECOM Capital, a global provider of
architecture, design, engineering, and
construction, engages stakeholders in a
partnership with CDP (formerly known as
Carbon Disclosure Project), a nonprofit
organization that works to reduce green
house gas emissions and drive sustainable
water use. AECOM provides data analysis
to educate municipal leaders.
Tooting your green horn
green notes By M.K. Nelson Jr.
Tim Hortons, a coffee-and-donut chain, educates consumers about its
sustainable building initiatives on its website.
M.K. Nelson Jr.,
com, is president of Bishop
Fixture + Millwork Inc.
Based in Balsam Lake, Wis.,
Bishop provides custom fixtures, millwork, and