Eco-friendly and eco-conscious may have been fashion buzzwords for a while now, but let’s get real — these buzzwords will only become standard practice when they help the’ bottom line. Lucky for both stores and environmentally-conscious consumers, a number of green practices have emerged as empirically cutting costs. Here’s a sampling:
- Walmart is trying to source 9% of the food it sells from local small- to medium- sized farms by 2015. What they’ve found so far is that doing so cuts costs because buying directly eliminates middlemen.
- The retail giant also implemented new trash policies in 2008 to reduce what it sent to landfills by 80%, helping to save money on what was being carted away every day.
- Macy’s, which uses 300 million hangers every year, is replacing their standard clear plastic hangers with environmentally-friendly recycled versions.
- The department store is also phasing out standard light bulbs nationwide, to be replaced with LED lights, which will cut energy consumption by 73%.
- Luxury brand conglomerate PPR founded a “sustainability lab” to research and instate greener practices — in part because CEO François-Henri Pinault believes that “sustainability creates value.”
- Both H&M and Levi’s have started favoring denim washes that use less water. Levi’s has even launched a line devoted to the washes, Water<Less, claiming that this season alone, it will save 16 million liters of water.
Is it perverse to be happy that companies will look to sustainable methods primarily to help their profits? We don’t think so. Ultimately, if “eco-friendly” is going to be more than just a catchphrase, it has to provide some kind of quantifiable benefit on paper.