About This Report

 

RILA’s first sustainability report, the 2012 Retail Sustainability Report, highlighted the major trends and best practices within the industry in a case-study format. The report educated the industry’s stakeholders about its sustainability achievements, goals, and challenges by highlighting the specific sustainability activities retailers are pursuing. The report found that environmental and social considerations are beginning to supplement traditional measures of competition, including price, service, and quality. We encourage you to reread the 2012 report to learn more about how these trends are influencing the industry’s direction.

As we reflected on the 2012 report and brainstormed about opportunities for improvement, we determined that it was important to update this year’s report format to provide an RILA-wide snapshot. The current report effectively portrays a detailed view of the industry’s adoption of sustainability programs. Specifically, we asked the largest retail companies about the indicators they use to assess the depth and breadth of their sustainability programs.

Equally important to establishing this baseline, we will update this view over time to see how the industry progresses in the coming years. Will the industry’s efforts continue to accelerate? Will sustainability become integrated into functions across the retail organization or remain a separate and distinct role? Will the scope of sustainability focus areas continue to grow, or will companies hone their attention? This updated report format will allow us to answer these questions over time.

We also recognize that it is important to show current trends. Where possible, we asked retailers about where they see their company’s sustainability efforts progressing over the next two years. While we cannot definitively state that the industry will follow these projections, the trends provide a view of one potential future.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION

This report was developed through two sources: a survey and in-depth interviews. The survey, which can be found in the Appendix, was disseminated in July of 2013; 35 RILA member retailers responded, representing more than 65,000 locations and $1 trillion in global revenue. Ten RILA member companies were interviewed and eight companies served as report advisors.

ERNST & YOUNG INVOLVEMENT

RILA is extremely pleased that Ernst & Young LLP, a global leader in assurance, tax, and advisory services, supported this RILA effort. E&Y, an organization that is well recognized for its sustainability leadership, provided RILA with financial and advisory support for the conceptualization and development of the 2013 Retail Sustainability Report.