Sustainability aims high.
The study entitled "Sustainability in Retail: Challenges - Strategies - Implementation." reveals how sustainability is increasingly indispensable part of the core business and competitive position.
No longer just one of the issues on the agenda today, sustainability has an increasingly important role for retail operators as indicated by a joint study conducted by SAP AG (German software corporation) and the Department of Logistics Management at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. The study entitled "Sustainability in Retail: Challenges - Strategies - Implementation." shows how sustainability is now an indispensable factor in the core business and for a competitive position.
According to the authors Kriener Klaus and Christian Berg (SAP) together with Joerg Grimm (University of St. Gallen) companies of different segments have four different strategic approaches that can be applied to address the complexity of the statutory regulations and the high expectations of society. Depending on the business model and network, retailers can therefore choose between:
- Optimization of processes and resources. Companies choose this option in order to orient their processes to achieve an efficient allocation of resources. This is a targeted approach to minimize the negative implications of the operations, in both social and ecological costs in particular.
- Assurance process. For companies implementing this strategy, the focus are not costs. These activities want to differentiate themselves from their competitors meeting the highest standards of sustainability. And they do it constantly refining their processes and communicating at the same time actively their efforts and their commitment.
- Positioning of sustainable products. In this case, companies innovate not the level of process but the product levels. New sustainable products serve as "calling card" for the company's image in the market.
Optimization of the cost of innovation. Product innovations such as eco-design or eco-friendly materials are implemented to maximize the cost of the product to achieve leadership in highly competitive markets.