EXCLUSIVE: Retail sector acting as ‘direct interface’ for sustainability
The retail sector's leading position in driving sustainability is being strengthened by its role as a "direct interface" for customers, says Asda's Julian Walker-Palin.
Speaking to edie, Walker-Palin, Asda’s head of corporate sustainability, said that the increasing focus on sustainability comes from the customers growing awareness of environmental issues.
He also said that because of the competitive nature of the retail sector, it is very efficient and this has helped drive down operational costs.
Walker-Palin said: “We [retail sector] are this direct interface with customers and so unlike, for example, the mining industry we are talking to customers all the time. In particular, we’re putting customers at the heart of everything we do and that’s why you’re seeing us focus more and more on sustainability”.
The retailer is currently developing stronger engagement with its customers by announcing, last month, that it will work with the University of Leeds to create what is thought to be the largest study in Europe solely focused on attitudes to sustainability.
The study will use the retailer’s customer panel, also thought to be the biggest in Europe at 7,500 customers participating. Known as the Everyday Experts panel, the study and discussion with the panel will lead to the creation of a “green lifestyle action plan”, which aims to engage people across the UK in sustainability.