Retail Horizons is a program to support the industry’s drive to sustainability. Led by RILA and sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, and sponsored by Target and Unilever, this project is designed to provide retailers with the tools they need to take action to safeguard their future, protect our environment, and improve the lives of their customers, workers, and suppliers.
The world is changing rapidly in ways that have already had profound implications on the retail industry. Technologies like the internet and mobile devices will enable retailers to exist everywhere. Consumers’ expectations around transparency, service, speed, and experience will continue to expand. Resources, such as water and materials, are likely to become scarcer and more expensive. And data will be ubiquitous. To adapt and grow, retailers will need to use the framework of sustainability to innovate. The tools developed through this year-long partnership enable retailers to develop their strategies and innovation by taking advantage of the strategic lens of corporate sustainability.
2013, RILA began to research significant changes that are affecting the retail
industry. We found that six “pressures” are driving the industry to
significantly change-–and those changes are likely to accelerate in the future.
The pressures include:
Technology, including the internet, social media, 3D
printers, and RFID.
Demographics, including U.S. trends like diversity,
multiculture, income disparity, and Millennials; and the population growth of
consumers in developing markets.
& big data, including an
explosion of data about consumers, stores, supply chains, suppliers, and
products, as well as reporting, activism, regulations, and privacy.
like shared consumption, gamification, lifestyles shifts, experiences, reuse,
constraints, including an
explosion of global population and affluence, commodity volatility,
fisheries/water/forests, and organizational and individual time constraints.
6. Economics and politics
To respond, RILA, in partnership with Forum for the Future, embarked on a year-long
project to explore how retail can integrate sustainability into the industry's future. The project is sponsored by Target and Unilever, and has involved over 50 RILA member brands.