Many of the nation’s leading retailers gathered in Dallas last month to discuss how environmental stewardship, reducing waste and improving energy efficiency can help companies thrive. A showcase of industry principals and forward thinkers filled the program of the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s (RILA’s) Environmental Sustainability & Compliance Conference. The more than 300 top executives in attendance heard from prominent retail leaders and environmental experts about the latest advancements and innovations in environmental sustainability and compliance.
"Even at a time when economic uncertainty remains top of mind for retailers and their customers, environmental stewardship is essential for not only reducing environmental impacts but also for maintaining brand integrity, controlling expenses and engaging employees," said opening keynote speaker Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III, chairman & CEO of JCPenney. "Forums like this help to leverage innovative thinking across the retail industry and accelerate the understanding of sustainability and its role in our current and future success."
"The positive response RILA has received since this event was announced demonstrates the commitment of the retail industry to environmental responsibility," said Casey Chroust, RILA’s senior vice president of retail operations. "Retailers understand that conservation, efficiency, waste reduction and sustainable practices all have positive impacts on their company’s performance and the bottom line." In fact, 90 percent of the executives in attendance said that their companies were implementing specific programs for environmental sustainability.
In addition, 68 percent of attendees polled said that their companies have not shifted their environmental focus in light of current economic conditions, but are proceeding according to their original plans. And when asked how to best define the term "sustainability," 76 percent of the audience chose to define it as "a value-creation strategy."
This and other polling data was gathered through the use of real time audience participation technology to allow RILA members to interact with keynote speakers and panelists to ask questions and provide input. "One way we make certain our conferences add value for our members is to participate actively with the presenters and share insights with one another," remarked Chroust.
RILA members taking a leadership role in the conference included Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Best Buy, Chico’s, Costco, Home Depot, JCPenney, Limited Brands, Lowe’s, Nike, PepBoys, Publix, REI, Target, Walgreen's and Wal-Mart.
The conference also featured an exhibit hall featuring cutting-edge technology and solutions. Major sponsors of the event included Shaw Environmental, Energizer, AMB Property, Accenture, BNSF Railway, Broadstar Wind Systems, Bureau Veritas, ERM, Evoco, Johnson Controls, Port of Seattle, ProLogis, SAP and Wind Energy Corporation.