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Sustainability in Retail: The Path forward for Retail’s Sustainable Future

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The session ‘Sustainability in Retail: The Path forward for Retail’s Sustainable Future,’ at PRC 2022, at WestIn Mumbai, discussed retailers increasingly directing their strategy and investments towards sustainable and responsible growth.

An eclectic mix of top retail executives in a panel discussion dwelled upon why retailers are re-evaluating the sustainability credentials of their products and of their overall brand in order to resonate with the wishes of an increasingly wide range of consumers.

The panelists of the session include:

  • Pushkaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Lever
    ● Amit Dutta, CEO, Le Marche Retail
    ● Sanjeev Rao, CEO, Being Human Clothing
    ● Shriti Malhotra, CEO, The Body Shop, India
    ● Mohit Khattar, CEO, Graviss Foods (Baskin Robbins)
    ● Abhishek Trehan, Executive Director, Trehan IRIS
    ● R A Shah, Head – Property, Trentand the session is moderatored by Naveen Malpani, Partner and Sector Leader –Consumer and Retail, Grant Thornton Bharat.

“There’s a shift in the shopping behaviour and the change is coming from the Gen Z population. Gen Z, today is exposed to international trends and international flavors of fashion. Fast Fashion is something which is trending right now. The population is very focused towards what they are buying and how it is giving back to earth or in some way,” says Sanjeev Rao, CEO, Being Human Clothing. 

“At Being Human stores, we use about 40-45% of the sustainable products. Sustainability comes at a cost, as many brands cannot afford sustainable stores. There’s a whole lot of logistics and special manufacturing which are involved in the process which adds to the cost,” he added further.  

Shriti Malhotra, CEO, The Body Shop, India says, “Sustainability is very deeply entrenched into the fabric of our brand, The Body Shop. India is actually at the forefront of the world’s first fairly traded plastic bottles and our first phase is to stop the usage of plastic as much as possible. We are also working responsibly with the plastic which is already there.”

“India is the emerging capital of the world and obviously there are humongous competent people who are suffering. One must not forget that we are in the category that is essentially an indulgence category. We have introduced a completely new brand in the market called Brooklyn Creamery. We do have a limited range of vegan products and low sugar products, but the core brand proposition has not been touched,” says Mohit Khattar, CEO, Graviss Foods (Baskin Robbins).

Talking about the scope of markets and shopping malls with green buildings in India, Abhishek Trehan, Executive Director, Trehan IRIS  says, “ We have not reached that stage of the consumers ready to pay a big premium.  We are going to be 30% depending on the population for consumption, so the Gen Z is seeing things differently than the Millennials. The consumers are more cautious, they definitely want to have a feel-good factor about consuming something which is more economic and eco-friendlier. Good initiatives have already been started for the real estate industry, such as the government’s initiative of giving extra building rights for you to choose to be a green building and that encourages a lot of developers to go into making more sustainable buildings.”

“We are looking at many factors like waste management, energy efficiency, recycling the water into air conditioning flushing and landscaping. We are doing these tools to get to a level,” he added further.

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