Council builds case for a green retail environment

by FM Media
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A new report from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has found that green retail environments can enhance the customer experience and drive greater profits.

The report, Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Retail: The Impact of Green Buildings on People and Profit, finds that most retailers are currently missing opportunities to better understand how the physical retail environment can impact staff, customers and business performance.

Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) chief executive officer Romily Madew says retailers that successfully embrace sustainability will have an unassailable market advantage for years to come.

“Sustainability has been business-as-usual in the commercial office market for some time. More than 650 office projects around the country have Green Star ratings, and a quarter of Australia’s CBD office space is Green Star certified,” Madew says.

“While movement has been slower in the retail sector – with 33 centres achieving Green Star ratings – the industry’s leaders are now seizing the sustainability agenda and this report will undoubtedly spur them on.”

Stockland now has 13 Green Star ratings for retail centres under its belt, and Frasers Property Australia gained Australia’s first six-star Green Star. Meanwhile, Coles achieved a four-star Green Star rating for its Hallam store in south-east Melbourne, and Kathmandu opened its first flagship Green Star registered retail store during 2015.

Emerging evidence from the report includes:

Research by the International Council of Shopping Centres, which suggests that lifestyle centres (connected sets of uncovered stores with pedestrianised walkways that incorporate nature) perform better than conventional malls, with increased numbers of stores visited and higher numbers of repeat visits.
American retailer Walmart’s findings that daylit areas of stores deliver higher sales per square metre than those areas artificially lit.
Research suggesting that customers are likely to buy more merchandise in stores with natural surroundings; customers rate spaces with greenery as friendlier, say they would stay longer and visit more frequently, and would be willing to pay a higher price for the same product.
WorldGBC chief executive officer Terri Wills says, “This report is about empowering retailers to look within their own properties to understand and monetise how better, more sustainable physical environments can drive profit, and in doing so, ultimately strengthen the business case for greener, healthier buildings.”

To view the report, visit: http://www.worldgbc.org/files/5214/5412/2350/HealthWellbingProductivityRetailFINAL.pdf

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