The benefits of implementing green initiatives have a widespread effect, including improved brand image with customers and employees, wrote Dan Kubala, vice president of marketing for Austin, Tex.-based Site Controls, in an article for Retail Customer Experience Magazine. Retailers who add energy management technology can boost their bottom line almost immediately, unlike with many other green initiatives today, he added.
For nearly all retailers, of which there are nearly 900,000 locations in the U.S., the most significant “low hanging fruit” for reducing energy costs is the implementation of an enterprise-wide energy management system (EMS), writes Kubala. He adds that the level of capital investment is relatively low, and payback for the best systems occurs in 18 to 24 months.
Kubala thinks retailers shouldn’t be hesitant to make green investments because today’s consumers are rewarding sustainability with their pocketbooks. In addition, studies show that employees prefer to work for companies that are environmentally conscious.
Forty-six percent of consumers say they would shop at a retailer more if it was environmentally friendly, while 47 percent say they would pay more for environmentally friendly services, products or brands, according to Kubala.
The same is true for other industry sectors. Case-in-point: More than one-third of Americans say they “almost always” or “regularly” buy green products, and 62 percent of customers choose a restaurant based on their commitment to the environment, according to two separate Mintel studies.
Kubala claims with EMS implementations, retailers can deliver chain-wide energy reductions of 20 percent or more, and easily reduce their carbon footprint by more than 17 percent. For companies making investments in purchasing alternative energy, energy management can have a greater impact on emission reduction, he added.
The upshot: Branding benefits of a retailer’s energy management initiatives can be substantial, while the incremental investment is extremely low since the project has been funded through predictable, dependable cost savings, he wrote.