Retailers have reaped the rewards of eco-friendly solutions over the past few months.
Environmental sustainability is one of the hottest topics in retail right now. Customers are increasingly demanding that the retailers and brands they entrust with their business follow environmentally responsible practices. Plus, retailers are discovering that what’s good for the environment is also good for operational efficiency and profitability.
Here are three examples of retailers reaping the benefits of sustainable technologies and strategies in Spring 2022.
Regional Midwest discount retailer Meijer is diverting waste with the help of its customers. This spring, the retailer reached the milestone of diverting more than a million pounds of potential food waste through its Flashfood sustainability initiative. The program allows customers to purchase foods – including meat, produce, seafood, deli meats, dairy and baked goods – as they approach their sell-by date. at 50% off, which keeps them from potentially going to landfills.
Flashfood is a Canadian company that allows retailers to upload closed-date surplus grocery items to its app, where the items are available for purchase. Customers can access the app, select a Meijer store, choose the items they want to buy and pay for them directly on the app. Customers then go to the store to pick up their items and confirm their order with customer service.
In April 2022, Walmart Canada unveiled its most advanced fulfillment center yet, packed with cutting-edge technology features and focused on sustainability. Located in Surrey, British Columbia, the 300,000-square-foot, $175 million facility, which is set to become a zero-waste facility, will also serve as a future hub for Walmart’s electric tractor-trailer fleet.
The building further incorporates an array of sustainable features, including an HVAC system designed to capture waste heat from the refrigeration system and harness it in radiant floor heating.
Other features of sustainable technology include:
- LED lighting and smart controls, which can reduce energy consumption by 70%;
- An efficient refrigeration system that uses CFC-free carbon dioxide (CO2), which is better for the environment;
- Special fans to maintain the temperature throughout the installation; and,
- Natural water filtration systems to protect local waterways and nearby fish hatchery.
In March, a Pittsburgh-based food, fuel and pharmacy retailerGiant Eagle Inc. continued the rollout of the Digi SmartSense Internet of Things (IoT)-based temperature monitoring platform.
Giant Eagle now uses 32,000 new SmartSense digital temperature monitoring devices in its 215 pharmacies, 175 grocery stores and 92 convenience stores. With this latest phase of IoT deployment, the retailer remotely, automatically and continuously monitors its critical food assets.
The grocer now includes the SmartSense system for its walk-ins, coolers and refrigerators in all its relevant supermarkets. The company can install temperature monitoring devices in minutes, combining wireless sensors, food probes, digital checklists, remote monitoring software and analysis tools.
All SmartSense features and functions are accessible through a single compliance monitoring dashboard and mobile app. As a result, Giant Eagle can gain a holistic view of operations at all levels, providing actionable insights the retailer uses to help control quality, employee productivity, and food safety compliance. It is also able to reduce food waste by minimizing spoilage, while improving energy efficiency.