Green corporate policies are high on the big retailers’ agendas. With all the talk – or should that be hype – that surrounds those businesses doing their bit for the environment, independent retailers should also be thinking about how to benefit from going green.

We know that many retailers are already doing such things, and when speaking to thousands of independents while they are shopping at UK cash & carries, 60% have told us that environmental issues are important to their business. This may be because retailers recognise that shoppers are increasingly concerned by green issues. 

When we spoke to 30,000 convenience store shoppers as part of HIM’s Convenience Tracking Programme, 13% said that environmental issues such as recycled packaging or food miles do affect how they do their grocery shopping.

One way in which retailers can reduce their impact on the environment is to sell locally produced foods. Doing so will mean you are seen as not only supporting other local businesses, but also having a positive impact on the environment by reducing food miles.

As many as 34% of shoppers polled in the Convenience Tracking Programme said that they would be encouraged to reuse their carrier bags if a store charged for single-use plastic bags. So if you haven’t already done so, swap traditional disposable plastic bags for recycled or long-life bags. Green tips for retailers: l Communicate any new green initiatives to your customers

Source local produce to reduce food miles
Lobby suppliers about the amount of packaging they use – if everyone complains then they will need to do something about it
Recycle as many materials as possible
Use energy efficient light bulbs and save money in the process
Ask customers if they would like a receipt instead of giving them one automatically
Encourage people to walk/ride a bike to store by offering an incentive such as a small gift if they leave the car at home 
Use recycled paper for leaflets
Conduct an energy audit of your shop.