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Food Retailers’ Roles for a More Sustainable Future

Food Retailers’ Roles for a More Sustainable Future

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Whether for the protection of the earth’s ozone layer and or the conservation of our finite natural resources have started to diminish, regulations on environmental protection continue to emerge. Starting with the Montreal Protocol down to the Paris Climate Agreement, a number of policies have been implemented to promote sustainability across different sectors.

In our industry, sustainability and climate change present long-term challenges for food retailers across the globe especially regarding the type of refrigerants being used to operate the equipment in their stores. Food retailers are expected to play larger roles in promoting greener operations and here are some of them:

Thinking Green

For food retailers, “thinking green” means incorporating sustainability into their daily operations and decision-making. These decisions come from store owners and managers to store associates for things like advertising campaigns, in-store promotions, and logistics; sustainability should always be factored in.

Building a green culture should also be targeted alongside sales and margins. This is why it is important to establish measurements and a budget plan when making this investment. All these would require specific goal setting centered on making the core business model sustainable.

Offering Sustainable Refrigeration Products

Many consumers want to know where their food is sourced or where the products they buy come from. That is why it is important to offer sustainable products and be transparent about them especially with this growing sustainability-centric shopping trend.

Some strategies in offering environmentally-friendly products include designing a brand that has a zero-carbon footprint and sourcing from local supply chains. This also includes storing and displaying products in refrigeration systems and display cases that use refrigerants with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) which are better for the environment.

Complying to Refrigeration Regulations

One challenge facing retailers in compliance with the different refrigeration regulations expected to continue impacting the commercial refrigeration industry. Environmental governing bodies like the California Air Resource Board (CARB), EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP), US Climate Alliance, and Department of Energy (DOE) have enacted several policies aiming to regulate refrigerant use and maintenance. It is important for food retailers to be updated on the different existing and emerging refrigeration regulations as these will affect how we do business today and in the future. As regulations become more stringent, food retailers are expected to comply with the policies and should strive to use refrigerants with a low GWP and ODP. In this day and age, more responsible food retailing is what we are all aiming for, and sustainability is more important than ever for retailers and their partners. It is high time we look into these roles and act on them for a healthier and more efficient industry that helps serve the good of the community.

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