Shining a light on sustainability in the retail industry

Climate change is a serious issue and it is vital for those in business to encourage change in how we use our natural resources. Research carried out by FMI for ShelfLife indicates how consumers are starting to understand the importance of supporting green initiatives



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11 November 2014

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Only a few days ago the United Nations issued a warning that global warming is having “widespread impacts” on humans and nature. Sustainability is no longer just a term thrown around by environmentalists and something the rest of us can afford to ignore. The consequences of ignoring the environmental impact of industry are according to the UN “irreversible and dangerous”.

UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, former Irish president Mary Robinson, said failure to act now would shift the burden to future generations. “As people living on this planet we should be in no doubt about the reality of climate change,” she said. “The science is clear. We cannot say we do not know the facts.”

The importance of investment in sustainability has become ever more prevalent within the retail environment. Companies are coming under increased pressure to introduce sustainable practices in their work environments and also to be seen to invest in educating their suppliers and producers across the globe in using more sustainable methods of farming and producing, through their corporate responsibility programmes.

Origin Green

Bord Bia has partnered with ShelfLife to highlight the importance of this topic. Its Origin Green campaign is the only sustainability programme in the world that operates on a national scale, uniting government, the private sector and food producers. It enables Ireland’s farmers and producers to set and achieve measurable sustainability targets – reducing environmental impact, serving local communities more effectively and protecting the extraordinarily rich natural resources that our country enjoys.

Bord Bia’s chief executive Aidan Cotter explains that it is Bord Bia’s ambition to have all Irish food and drink producers on the journey to sustainability by the end of 2016. You can read all about Origin Green on pages 44 and 45.


FMI undertook the research on behalf of ShelfLife with consumers and retailers to gauge the opinion and awareness of sustainable practices in the Irish retail environment.

The results, which are displayed over the next four pages, make for interesting reading as they show the importance consumers now place on the area of sustainability and also illustrate the tactics employed by retailers in their stores every day.

According to Nicola de Beer, COO of FMI: The purpose of this research was to take a closer look at the issue of sustainability and examine some of the practices, attitudes and challenges that currently exist within the Irish retail space.

“What is evident from this research is that the Irish retail industry has recognised the growing importance of the need to incorporate sustainability practices as core considerations within industry practice. Our environment is a finite resource that needs all the protection it can be afforded – the challenge cannot be left to one stakeholder alone but needs the collective to be fully engaged. The Irish retail industry has made great strides in regards to promoting, adopting and implementing best sustainable practices. The challenge is to keep this momentum going and to increase consumer awareness of what is being done.”






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