Last month, RILA welcomed more than 300 top retail, consumer product manufacturing and service provider executives to Dallas to hear about the latest advancements and innovations in environmental sustainability and compliance at our first-ever Environmental Sustainability & Compliance Conference. The networking for retailers at this event was phenomenal and it was wonderful to see such an impressive group gathered together – not to mention to meet some of you for the first time! The positive response RILA has received since this event shows that the retail industry is dedicated to environmental responsibility. It is clear that retailers understand that conservation, efficiency, waste reduction and sustainable practices all have positive impacts on their company’s performance and the bottom line. At educational sessions, presenters were able to use an automated audience response system to poll attendees. When asked how to best define the term "sustainability," 76 percent of the audience chose to define it as "a value-creation strategy." What better way to demonstrate the retail industry’s long-term commitment to environmental sustainability?
The feedback to this first event has been so overwhelmingly positive that we have already locked in our dates for next year’s conference. Mark your calendars to attend the second annual RILA Environmental Sustainability & Compliance Conference October 5-7, 2009, in Frisco, Texas! I hope to see you there.
Prior to the start of the conference, the RILA Sustainability Initiative (RSI) held one of its twice-annual in-person meetings. The group discussed priorities for the next 15 months. A top priority of the Sustainability Working Group is to begin working with the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) to develop recycling partnerships. Mall-based retailers, especially non-anchors, are rarely able to broker with third-party recycling service providers to effectively manage their recyclable waste because they generate smaller amounts of waste than big-box retailers. However, collectively, retailers within the mall may be able to attract recycling companies. These mutually beneficial partnerships save retailers trash-hauling expenses, generate an income stream for malls and provide recycling companies with raw material. RSI will present at ICSC’s fall meeting next month and is excited to play a central role in developing this important partnership.
Additionally, RSI members have expressed an interest in learning more about greenhouse gas management. In response, Shaw Environmental (an RSI partner) has developed a three-part webinar series. GHG 101 introduces the basic concepts and regulatory background, GHG 201 teaches the methodology of the greenhouse gas inventory and GHG 301 covers mitigation strategies, credits and procedures. GHG 101 took place two weeks ago, and GHG 201 will be held twice this week. GHG 301 will occur in mid-November. If you would like more information on these webinars, or if you would like to register, please visit www.RILA.org. All webinars will be recorded and can be made available upon request.
In this issue of "RILA Report: Sustainability," we feature articles from two conference presenters, Jane Valentino of the Center for Resource Solutions, who writes about carbon credits and Green-e Certification, and Brian and Mary Nattrass of Sustainability Partners. Brian and Mary will share findings from their interactive audience response session at the conference – a fascinating snapshot of the retail industry! Also, this issue contains an update from Marc Heisterkamp of the U.S. Green Building Council, as well as an article on preventing the transport of non-native species co-authored by Frank Lowenstein of The Nature Conservancy and John Peter Thompson of the American Nursery and Landscape Association. For those of you who are responsible for compliance, Shaw Environmental shares some valuable information regarding environmental health and safety. Finally, Jim Thomas, vice president of corporate social responsibility for JCPenney and RSI’s Sustainability Working Group Chair, gets personal by telling us about JCPenney’s journey, the environmental advocates who have influenced him throughout his career and more. I hope you enjoy it!
All the best,