15th December 2021

How retailers can create a sustainable production process

By TFRG Team

As TFR Group supports businesses in their journey to deliver more sustainable practices, we see the industry shift its behaviour in line with consumer demand well ahead of the curve. And the focus on sustainability is at the forefront of consumers’ minds like never before.

Globally, two-thirds (66%) of shoppers consider sustainability before making a purchase1, while post-pandemic the green agenda has become key for the majority of shoppers. Around 62% of customers say it’s now more important than before that companies behave in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way, with over half (58%) of adults choosing to be more mindful of their impact on the environment when making a purchase.

It’s clear that retailers need to introduce a sustainable production process to meet consumer demand, become part of a circular economy and future-proof their businesses, but how can these be achieved authentically whilst still supporting the growth of the organisation?

Implementing Sustainable Changes

There are several ways to support a more sustainable manufacturing process, however understanding what’s achievable within your business is key to driving realistic change. It’s important to remember that implementing genuine improvements can take time but will inevitably provide long-term benefits for both the business and consumers.

Supply chain review

The effect supply chains have on the environment cannot be understated. Accounting for more than 80% of a consumer company’s emissions, it could be a key area to focus on to reduce your carbon footprint considerably.

Look at your existing supply chain and see if there are any areas in which you could make changes. A supplier that is closer in location could reduce the amount of mileage travelled and CO2 emissions produced. Another area that is often overlooked within the supply chain is waste – could the waste you produce be turned into something valuable or recycled? Or could you create your products without wasting anything, implementing a circular economy approach to production?

Energy efficiency

Could the equipment, lighting or appliances within your factory or office be more energy efficient? Small changes such as swapping traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving options like CLF and LED lighting, uses less energy and therefore reduces the amount of greenhouse emissions produced.

Consider taking this one step further and install timers for lighting to ensure they are never left on for long periods unnecessarily.

Sustainable packaging

The majority (92%) of consumers are now choosing paper-based over plastic-based packaging due to its recyclable properties, showcasing customer demand for sustainability. Zero packaging isn’t an achievable solution for many retailers that need to ensure their products are protected and delivered safely but there are ways of introducing more sustainable materials to lessen your overall carbon footprint.

Consider using recycled materials for packaging including British recycled plastics, which have a lower carbon footprint than recycled plastics imported from Europe. When looking for more sustainable packaging options consider the 3Rs, reuse, reduce and recycle. Could you reduce the amount of packaging while still protecting your products? Is the packaging recyclable and biodegradable? And do you offer customers the opportunity to return their packaging via a recycling scheme?

Go paperless

Reducing the amount of paper used within the business can not only lessen the amount of paper used and wasted, but will also save money! Identify the tasks that still use pen and paper and see if these can go digital. For example, if customers still receive paper receipts or delivery notes consider investing in digital platforms and tools to take the task online.

Putting the economy in circular economy

The financial benefits of creating products that can be recycled and repurposed again and again creates low commodity prices, seeing a benefit for the industry overall as it supports a shift towards more sustainable and cheaper manufacturing.

Impact of a more sustainable manufacturing process

Increased Consumer Engagement

Globally, just 28% of people believe that businesses are doing enough to protect the planet, but the majority of consumers are hungry to see retailers commit to sustainability long term.

If retailers can continue to innovate and showcase a proactive and authentic approach to sustainability, more consumers will regularly engage with their brand and buy into company values.

Business Growth

81% of consumers would prefer to buy from a retailer that has sustainable business practices, so with these in place you can offer customers exactly what they’re looking for6.

With your unique product and service offering, coupled with a commitment to sustainability and the practices to back it up, your customer base will become larger, helping to increase profits and market share.

TFR Group logistical support

Business recycling and waste services are a commitment. It takes an investment of precious resources, including time and money to make it a success, which many retailers don’t have – especially post-pandemic.

By partnering with an established recycling service at a fixed cost, such as TFR Group you’ll be able to protect your profit margins at a set rate for consistent monthly returns whilst implementing a sustainable practice into your production process.

We’ve partnered with retailers including John Lewis and Eve to not just improve their sustainability practices by diverting end-of-life and consumer return mattresses from landfill, but with a high rejuvenation rate, we’ve directly protected profit margins on returned items.

Take a look at our case studies to learn more about how we support retailers. 

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