24
Fri, Mar

Walk the talk

For retailers sustainability is top of their agenda. So if you work for them it needs to be high on yours too. The SDEA’s new environmental tool, Convert Plus, could help. Stylo is convinced. Are you?

Sustainability is now at the forefront of today’s retailer mindset, and those wishing to supply them need to not only share these principles, but prove them. With sustainability being a key element of many retailers’ core values, their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) regimes automatically include these principles to their whole supply chain so suppliers, including PSPs, have no choice but embrace it.

Last year the British Retail Consortium launched its latest initiative, with ‘25-in-5: Unlocking Energy Efficiency through Smart Regulation’. The aim is for the rapid deployment of low and zero carbon technologies right across the retail industry. This runs alongside its ‘A Better Retailing Climate’, which set targets in 2014 spanning energy use, waste and water. Participating retailers - which represent half of the UK retail market - achieved a 13% reduction in absolute carbon emissions between 2005-2014, with a 2020 target of a 25% reduction - a direction that goes beyond the UK and EU carbon reduction targets.

The Shop and Display Equipment Association (SDEA) realised that in this fast paced environment members required a sustainability design tool that was comprehensive, low-cost and, most importantly, easy to use - so the association has developed Convert Plus Sustainability Software that it launched at the 100% Design show recently. 

Within retail, sustainability at equipment level has historically involved a sacrifice in terms of increased price and/or longer leadtimes whereby many new projects have ended up simply ticking the usual boxes of price, time and ‘fit for purpose’. The aim of Convert Plus is not simply for users to measure existing products but to actually educate them and their customers about the potential impact their designs, processes and activities have on the environment. By working alongside retailers from the very initial stages of design, SDEA members can incorporate key aspects of sustainability from the get-go and can create shopfitting and display equipment that has sustainability at the core.

Chris Shoebottom, sales director at SDEA member company Stylo, believes that sustainability demands will only increase in the future: “It’s obvious isn’t it. Why wouldn’t you take steps to minimise what ends up in landfill? The challenge for producers is to find a tool which can be embedded in your design process and catch early enough the greener alternatives available. Convert Plus helps do this.”

The data within Convert Plus is available through an intuitive Web-based platform, supported by an extensive database of government specified figures covering all aspects affecting sustainability. The tool applies a process called eco-mapping, which evaluates the key elements of the product design in terms of its material make up, the manufacturing processes, packaging and logistics. By inputting materials and processes for each component of a design, supply chain and delivery logistics, packaging, use and end of life options, the user is able to form a 360 degree view of how sustainable each design is. 

The software allows the user to store all their projects online, with up to six variations of each individual project. This allows for easy comparison of the concepts against the critical environmental impact of each - all in visually compelling graphs and tables. What’s more, the user is able to save this as a PDF, allowing for easy integration in client presentations. Using all this information together, they can work hand in hand with retailers in the planning process and evaluate the key contributors to sustainability as part of the design and specification.

Got to be good for printers in the retail space?