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How brands and retailers can promote sustainability throughout their business

By Rachel Douglass

18 Nov 2022


Image: owned by GS1

“Being a sustainable brand is a responsibility, not a choice,” started Verte’s new e-book on ‘How Retailers and Brands Can Promote Sustainability’. The provider of a supply chain management platform used the booklet to highlight that more and more customers “expect” to make purchases from businesses that value green efforts.

The report aimed to outline ways in which brands could authentically promote sustainability throughout their business and supply chain, not only to reflect consumer demands but also “to be on the right side of history”. It further noted that, while many companies seemingly adopt an array of sustainable practices, there is often a lack of transparency when it comes to tangible changes.

FashionUnited has highlighted some of Verte’s most important strategies to implement sustainable practices business-wide, from technological integrations to operational adaptations.

Deliveries and returns

After emphasising the carbon impact shipping packages have on the environment, Verte suggested brands could provide customers with varying options to offset that carbon footprint, signalling that the company cares as much as they do. Examples of this included the offer to plant a tree for every checkout, or partnering with carbon neutral shipping companies.

Additionally, the book also noted that returns have a detrimental effect on the environment, as Verte continued, with many having ended up in landfills. The firm outlined the use of buy-back programmes, such as resale or repair models, which can extend the lifespan of a garment.

Fulfilment and warehouse management

While logistics may not be the first thing on a customer's mind, Verte said brands must invest in eco-friendly fulfilment practices in order to be wholly sustainable. To do so, the adoption of a fully automated fulfilment service or third-party logistics warehouse can help reduce energy consumption, many of which utilise renewable energy or a wider span of locations that can help mitigate emissions.

Furthermore, facilities built with ecologically-friendly needs at its centre, often taking up less space, can further a retailer's efforts, while also applying automation for more efficient logistics operations.

Updated commerce platforms

Verte suggested that e-commerce brands and retailers should look into unifying their sustainable efforts through the use of supply chain management platforms. This way they can oversee various green promises while also optimising operations. Platforms that allow for products to be tracked from warehouse to customer can help organisations see where they can improve, Verte added.

The report continued: “In order for brands and retailers to get sustainability right the first time, they need to understand the complexity of their business and how to best optimise their entire supply chain from the ground up.

“This requires a strong strategy when it comes to technology and how it will evolve the business to increase profitability and meet the needs of sustainable consumers.”