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Retailers find going green can save money too

According to reports, it is not just shopping bags that have gone green with recycled paper .

Big retailers such as Shoppers Stop, Puma, Marks & Spencer and Bharti Walmart are improving their green credentials with special focus on packaging, lighting and energy-efficient stores.

Analysts note that retailers joining the green bandwagon are doing it as a two-pronged strategy of cost-cutting and show their sensitivity towards the environment. They also point that going green is the only feasible route to stay afloat as energy costs are skyrocketing.

Analysts note that companies can cut costs anywhere around one to two per cent of the total revenue by managing efficiently.

For instance, Shoppers Stop installed solar panels at one particular store in Mumbai. Marks & Spencer too worked on its store using energy-efficient panels while Coca-Cola India partnered with its bottling partners across 22 locations to focus on energy-efficiency.

Govind Shrikande, Managing Director, Shoppers Stop, said, “We have done changes such as using lighter store fixtures”. Coca-Cola said that 1,000 “eKOcool” solar coolers will be installed across the country by the end of the year. Under Coca-Cola’s 5by20 programme, “eKOcool” solar cooler offers rural retailers an energy-efficient way to boost sales in areas where access to electricity is limited. These solar coolers can chill and store up to 48 glass bottles, each of 300 ml.

Sports lifestyle major Puma launched it eco-friendly store in Bangalore. Recycled steel from old DVD players, bicycles and tiffin boxes were used to construct the building.

Marks & Spencer, which opened a 20,000-sq-feet store in Delhi, boasts sustainable construction. Venu Nair, Managing Director for Marks & Spencer Reliance India, said, “The sustainable features in our store include heat-transmitting glass that helps maintain in-store temperatures and cut UV-ray penetration by 90 per cent, solar reflective tiles that keep the store cool and energy meters to monitor the store’s energy performance.”

Arvind Singhal, Chairman, consulting firm, Technopak, notes, “In retailing business, there is no other way than being sustainable. Companies are working to cut packaging costs and reducing lighting and energy costs. A guesstimate is that energy cost accounts for about 0.5-1 per cent of the total costs. Companies are looking to cut to stay profitable”.

Stating that methods such as using solar panels and setting up stores out of scrap is possible in standalone formats, Singhal said companies will have to work out sustainable model for future.

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