The U.S. Green Retail Association® supports the efforts of retail businesses to "go green." We provide practical information about how to implement green practices in retail. We offer an economical path for retail establishments to receive third-party certification that recognizes a significant commitment to green practices.
There are many no- and low-cost ways for retail business to begin taking bold steps to "go green." Green Cleaning and Pest Control are two great ways to get started. It takes a little effort to select the best products, but you will typically not incur any significant cost increases. Implement a robust recycling program that includes products like electronic waste, batteries, and fluorescent lamps. Check your plumbing fixtures to make sure they have flush and flow rates that conserve water.
Being green also means carefully reviewing you energy usage and implementing a long-range plan to increase efficiency. A good place to start is with a review of your lighting. Install occupancy sensors in locations like restrooms and storerooms where there is not a need for the lights to stay on continuously. Review what light bulbs you are using. Make sure you have replaced incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Are there places where it makes sense to invest in new-technology bulbs like LEDs that require substantially less energy and generate less heat? Become knowledgeable about the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning systems and evaluate the payback for a more efficient system.
A retail store that seeks to "go green" should have that value reflected in their purchasing decisions. You should seek to learn about the practices used by manufacturers to produce and distribute products. Every item in your store does not need to be green. Yet, you should at least offer customers some high quality green alternatives. You should have signage and employees that educate customers about the green practices used to produce these products.
Take care in selecting the packaging and bags that you use in your store: Sell reusable bags, provide shopping bags made with recycled content, and only use bags that are biodegradable.