Produce, act, and consume to help the environment
by Julia Pott (exclusively for EuroShop.mag)
Today is Earth Day, April 22, 2021. Each year this day serves as a conscious reminder to protect our planet and its resources from things like pollution and deforestations. Across the retail industry, brands also take a commitment to sustainability seriously: while a lot is being demanded of companies, they are also doing a lot.
Earth Day is a day when organizations and NGOs such as the non-profit organization EarthDay.org host events to speak up for nature and help combat climate change. The aim is to promote processes, technologies and ideas that protect or restore Earth’s damaged ecosystems. How do trade and industry respond to sustainability and how do retailers celebrate Earth Day? We have looked at some examples.
Food industry: “Every bite counts!”
The theme of German Earth Day 2021, organized by the German Earth Day Committee (Earth Day Deutsches Komitee e.V.), is “Every bite counts! Protect what you eat – protect our Earth” and focuses on a regional, fair and ecologically sustainable food system, ranging from production, supply, trade to consumption. This is also reflected in a growing awareness for a more sustainable food system among the food trade and consumers.
The Kroger Company, or simply Kroger, is a large American supermarket chain that set up the “Zero Hunger | Zero Waste” foundation, which aims to address the dichotomy between American citizens who experience hunger every day and the problem of terrible food waste throughout the food system in the United States. Kroger encourages its online customers to add small donations to their order cart to help communities and local initiatives in need. Consumers also get tips on the website on how to cut down on food waste by storing food properly before it spoils and by getting informed about packaging that is easily recyclable.
The “Zero Hunger | Zero Waste” Foundation has also just closed its open call for the Second Innovation Fund Cohort, inviting startups and innovators to submit ideas and solutions that directly support promising new ways to prevent food waste, manufacture, process or distribute upcycled consumer food products. The companies will review the applications and select 10 startups who will be backed with an initial $1 million investment and grant funding in total.
Unlike recycling, upcycled food means recovering and repurposing food that may otherwise go to landfills, and encouraging the production of a higher-quality product. This is how the Brazilian Triathlete Cauê Suplicy explains his project “Barnana“. Instead of seeing bananas ending up in the landfill, he upcycles them and creates value-added products such as delicious, nutritious chips and cookies made from dehydrated banana paste, puree and/or powder. According to Barnana, it has upcycled more than 100 million bananas, which simultaneously supports local banana farmers throughout Latin and Central America.
Here at EuroShop.mag, we have showcased many sustainable concepts of the food industry. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, bulk stores or bulk sections at food stores were a growing trend.
Food packaging is also repeatedly under fire for being unsustainable. There are consistent innovations in technology that advance biodegradable packaging or edible food packaging for example. The multi-use of shopping bags and packaging is one important future-related topic, especially as it pertains to the food trade and the hospitality industry. New concepts, such as the digital deposit-based reusable packaging-as-a-service solution by the Vytal Company show the untapped potential in this area.
Last but not least, The Drinks Business magazine honored sustainable beverage companies at the end of last year – EuroShop was once again involved as a sponsor of The Drinks Business Green Awards.
Earth Day discounts, sales and promotions
Many retailers use Earth Day to promote and sell their products. Manufacturers and retailers who have integrated sustainability into their brand DNA benefit the most in this setting. They have instant credibility and their content blends seamlessly into the Earth Day theme.
Lush is a British cosmetics retailer, whose creed is to source and sell its products based on the highest ethical and environmental standards. The company promotes its Charity Pot program on Earth Day and donates 100 percent of proceeds (minus the tax) from its Charity Pot products to grassroots organizations and local charities.
The sustainable fashion brand Tentree wants to make apparel with the smallest possible footprint and uses a promo code to market its products on Earth Day. What makes Tentree so unique: every time an item is purchased, the company promises to plant 10 trees.
An industry is getting greener: #sustainability
In recent years, the textile industry has generally made increased efforts to become more sustainable in production, recycling, and clothing supply chains. Many fashion manufacturers and retailers are acutely aware of the importance of sustainability and invest in innovative concepts for production, recycling and ethical production standards, as is evidenced by these examples.
Sustainability is also always a priority at EuroShop. The EuroShop community offers countless green solutions, as visitors could experience first-hand at EuroShop 2020. Sustainable concepts ran the gamut from recycled materials, digital solutions to booth systems and exhibit solutions. Here are just some examples from our “Sustainably impressive” photo gallery.
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