Sustainability in Retail: About missions, a guilty conscience, and a breakfast with my son 🥐☕
Being invited to my son’s student condo for a Sunday morning breakfast is a great and joyful weekend activity. Sitting around the table, laughing, drinking coffee, and discussing everything that came up in our minds, suddenly came to a halt by my son’s sudden outburst. “I blame you and your generation for the world my generation has to cope with and struggle to live in!” It was one of those sincere and moving statements.
I was shocked, touched, and at a loss for words. I found myself starting to explain that I buy yogurt only in glasses, not in plastic, shop vegetables at the farmer’s market and not in plastic packaging in the supermarket, and plan to buy a new bike in order to use my car less… Hearing my list of excuses, I knew this was not enough. I had no actual argument to refute my son’s blame.
From that breakfast on, I had a guilty conscience. Although there was nothing further to discuss regarding the more than unsatisfying social and environmental state of the world we live in. I decided to personally contribute to helping make it a bit better, at least. I considered shopping only secondhand fashion, even selling my car, but everything I thought about didn’t feel like it was enough. So, I asked myself what’s my mission – to contribute to making the world a better one! Yes, I can’t save the world, but I can add my tiny part to turn back the negative impact of my generation. And suddenly I saw it! I am already right in the middle of this movement. I can contribute through my great company and make a much more significant impact than just yogurt glasses. SAP’s purpose is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives with sustainability at the core. For the future of our planet and especially for the future of my son’s generation, I want to take the opportunity to work on how to best chase the zero – Zero emissions. Zero waste. Zero inequality. Together with the vast SAP family. As solution manager within the global SAP Retail Industry team, I frequently discuss the impact of sustainability and how it shapes and pushes the industry trends and requirements. SAP can enable the Retailers to make sustainability profitable, manage their carbon footprint, support climate change, and especially follow our social responsibility.
Our key Retail sustainability strategies are
Circular Economy – Zero Waste
- Retailers have the need for increased customer loyalty and continuous connection. The Circular Economy principles help Retailers easily maintain their relationship with consumers in various moments of circularity, moments of buying, moments of sharing, recycling or donating. Producing and distributing goods according to consumer demands and avoiding overstocking and waste of resources and goods is a key sustainability implication, but also contributes significantly to a Retailer’s profit.
Climate Action – Zero Emissions
- Production, transportation, last mile delivery, omnichannel and returns, in-store operations and assets and buildings contribute to a Retailer’s carbon footprint. All these contributions also give many opportunities and entry points to improve end-to-end processes and thus reduce the carbon footprint and emissions.
Sustainable Brand – Zero Inequality
- Customers have increasing expectations of the products they buy. From sourcing via production to delivery, they expect everything to be good for the environment and society. Today, the success or failure of a brand is directly linked to its contribution to environmental and social responsibility.
Sustainability in Retail is a crucial lever to increase customer loyalty, raise profit, and effectively improve business processes. While all these improvements also are good for the environment, society and for business.
Please join me in my mission to make the world a better one, for the generation of my son, for Retailers and their consumers, and for our society and the environment.
What is your personal contribution, as a consumer, as a Retailer? I would love to hear it!