The pace of change in retail is forcing a transformation within the industry the likes of which we have never seen before. Innovations and new technologies are emerging to appeal to a consumer that has never been more empowered with information and access to a global marketplace right at their fingertips.
As the industry evolves to meet the changing needs and desires of consumers, our mission at RILA is to help retailers navigate the complex new challenges and opportunities that result from this transformation. Policymakers at all levels of government are introducing new laws and regulations that will have far-reaching implications for retailers, our customers and our employees. As the advocate for the nation's largest and most innovative retail companies, RILA has played a pivotal role in the outcome of many of these public-policy debates in 2017.
In January, retailers faced enormous threats in the form of the border adjustment tax (BAT) and a Wall Street effort to repeal hard fought debit card swipe fee reforms. Since then, RILA has hosted meetings with President Trump, Vice President Pence, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, and hundreds of lawmakers to share the industry's story and press for actions that are helpful, not harmful to America's largest private employing industry. Seven months later, thanks to these efforts and that of our members and partners, both threats have been defeated and we can now focus on an offensive strategy to improve the policy environment for retailers.
But RILA's industry support goes well beyond public policy. RILA continues to focus on delivering best-in-class research and benchmarking for retail executives with roles in supply chain, human resources, asset protection, compliance, and energy and sustainability. RILA launched the (R)Tech Center for Innovation to provide retailers with tools to navigate the profound transformation underway in retail, the Retail Litigation Center filed its 100th legal brief, and the Center for Retail Compliance unveiled new resources to help retailers comply with the morass of state and local hazardous waste and environmental requirements.
As the retail industry continues to evolve and grow, RILA is proud of the role we play supporting this dynamic industry. We look forward to new challenges on the horizon, and are excited about the future of our industry and what we can achieve together.
Sandra L. Kennedy