Bringing Sustainable Retail Design Into Your Store


Environmental designs and decisions within retail operations are now in greater demand, with customers, more than ever before, expecting and demanding sustainability from their high street. This has prompted a significant shift in the UK’s retail environment as green retail becomes inextricably linked to increased profits.

There remains some confusion within the retail sector as to how sustainable retail can be defined. Terminology, such as upcycling and circular economy, can be confusing or misunderstood, deterring some store owners from pursuing their benefits. Due to the associated criticism that comes from greenwashing, whereby retailers can be reprimanded by the public for not being genuine in their intentions, it is perhaps easy to understand why.

However, the benefits of environmental retail design, for both the planet and profits, can no longer be ignored, which is why we’ve collected the fundamental ways in which sustainability can be brought into your high street concept.

Source Ethically

There are numerous ways in which a store can source its materials and shop furniture ethically. Local manufacturing produces a smaller carbon footprint, energy supply can be switched to a renewable source, and materials can be made from organic, sustainably grown, or recycled materials.

Making these choices has, historically, been associated with higher costs. However, as demand for such sourcing grows, their cost subsides. It is now more affordable than ever before to support your retail venture, whether it is carbon neutral electricity supplies or locally manufactured store assets, like mannequins and stands offs. Retailers, such as Ikea and Pret A Manger have already begun to make such transitions, promoting their store’s ethical design widely and proudly.

Reduce Waste

Waste disposal and even recycling is a cost, environmentally and financially. Striving to reduce waste and wasteful practices is an excellent way of improving store sustainability. Impact can be small, such as only printing receipts upon demand, or significant, such as eliminating single-use plastics entirely. The latter may not be entirely feasible at first but any progress will be welcomed by customers and you’ll soon find yourself with the support to do more. Striving to eliminate waste entirely is a key pursuit of a circular economy.

Incorporate Recycled Design

An effective way to both reduce waste and build a sustainable design is to embrace recycled and upcycled features. The distinction between the two is as follows:

            Recycled design reuses items that may have otherwise been wasted

Upcycled design transforms and improves items that would otherwise have been wasted

Within a retail concept, this can mean sourcing recycled materials, such as paper, for pamphlets, preventing the need for new materials to be used. Whereas upcycling second-hand materials can mean refurbishing broken furniture or displays into something usable and new. For example, certain stores across the UK are reclaiming broken tiles and scrap paints, using them to decorate their store spaces in exciting and sustainable ways.

Switching To Local Suppliers

Locality improves your store’s carbon footprint by reducing the amount of carbon spent transporting goods to your store. Choosing, for example, to eliminate reliance on imports for UK-based alternatives will do a great deal to impress customers supporting your business. In addition, you will also be supporting like-minded local businesses too, who will then be able to grow and improve the services.


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