Innovation: Compromise For A Reduction Of The Environmental Impact Of The Retail Sector - Obtaining Green Commerce Recognition Label

Last update: 13.10.2013
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Keywords: 
environmentally responsible behaviour‚ retail trade‚ environmental awareness‚ information service‚ consumer goods‚
It is estimated that the European retail sector is responsible for 2 to 3,5% of the CO2 emissions. As commercial distribution chains release so much CO2 this is the core discussion of Green Commerce and a key aspect that will define future policies in sustainable development for transport, food industry, waste management, etc. The retail sector is going in the right direction, progressively reducing their operations impacts. This is due to the increase in environmental norms, the development of new efficient technologies, but also, the growing number of environmentally ethical entrepreneurs and desire or appreciation of consumer for greener products as well as industry.

The main environmental ambitions Green Commerce emphasizes include:
• Energy: small size retailers could have major savings if they switched to more environmentally-geared systems for light, heat and refrigeration.

• Waste recycling: approximately 10 to 15% of municipal waste comes from the retail sector as commercial waste, with the added problem of its big volume.

• Plastic bags, packaging: The plastic that plastic bags and bottles are made of represents almost 40% of the total European consumption. It is estimated that each person use between 130 and 160 plastic bags every year.

• Water: Some commercial sub-sectors, such as food retailers, are important consumers of water and contribute a great deal to the worsening of the hydraulic deficit of some regions, especially in the Mediterranean areas. Through Green Commerce, we will promote measures to save rather than waste water.

• Eco-labelling and responsible consumption: eco-labelling is distinctive in that it stimulates consumers to choose products and services more respectful of the environment. More and more people are understanding it is not enough to seem respectful of the environment, rather they must be influenced to do so in their usual consumption behaviour. Environmental labels are still not well-known or understood - even with European Eco-Label.Green Commerce aims to clarify and build awareness around how these labels can provide a better purchasing decision.

• Transport: The distribution and supply activity in commercial establishments generate a lot of environmental impacts - mainly of which are from the transport. A small sized retailer undertakes, in average, ten loading and unloading operations, however in some sub-retail sector they are larger. The goods transported to retailers, usually made with conventional vehicles, generate4 to 5 eq/tn of CO2 yearly. The larger amount of emissions are produced in cities where the logistic-distribution chains are largest.

• Commercial equipment: It is usual to see in small sized retailers a large range of appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, telephones, faxes, scanners, photocopies machines, televisions, DVD’s, etc. We will be inspiring the retail sector to use more efficient equipment, showing the ecological and economical benefits to doing so.

PROJECT GOALS:

The objectives of Green Commerce are:

- To involve small retail shops in the campaign against climate change
- To promote environmental responsibility in the retail sector
- To reduce energy consumption and the waste production by means of simple and easy measures
- To stimulate innovation in environment issues with good practices and to mobilise consumers to become more environmentally friendly
- To promote innovation to resolve environmental business issues by disseminating successful case studies
- To raise awareness with consumers about best practices for shopping respectfully regarding the environment
In order to achieve its goals, the project has:

• Created a “Green Commerce” European label
• Provided retail businesses the means to develop environmental GC self-assessment tool
• Performed environmental audits in 100 shops (50 in Torrevieja, 50 in San Sebastian)
• Provided training sessions and mobilisation workshops
• Disseminated project results and knowledge in order to diffuse this methodology
The Green Commerce Project introduced the European "Green Commerce" label which shops can use to advertise their environmental credentials to customers. It sets minimum standards of environmental performance which shops need to meet and comply with to become credited with the "Green Commerce" label:

1. GOOD PRACTICES
The business reads the goods practices of its sector for the different environmental aspects:
Atmospheric emissions of particles and gases, Consumption of materials, Energy, Environmental responsibility, Generation of waste and subproducts, Hazardous components, Noise, Packaging and packaging waste, Smells, Visual impact and integration in the urban environment, Water (http://www.lifeplusgreencommerce.eu/index.php?Id=56)


2. SELF-ASSESSMENT
The business performs a simple self-assessment test, to know its environmental status regarding "Green Commerce". Depending on the score, the commerce continues with the recognition process or initiate corrective actions.

The questions are divided in 11 topics:
Atmospheric emissions of particles and gases, Consumption of materials, Energy, Environmental responsibility, Generation of waste and subproducts, Hazardous components, Noise, Packaging and packaging waste, Smells, Visual impact and integration in the urban environment, Water


3. AUDIT
If the self-assessment is successful, there will be an environmental audit "in situ in the commerce" carried out by a technical advisor. The technical advisor assigned will visit the business in order to verify the responses obtained in the self-assessment.


4. IMPROVEMENT ACTIONS
Depending on the score achieved in the "in situ" audit new improvement actions can be proposed. The technical advisor proposes to the business the tasks to be carried out in order to reach the score needed to get Green Commerce recognition.


5. RECOGNITION
Once reached the score needed the commerce gets Green Commerce Recognition. Once the business demonstrates to the technical advisor that the actions have been carried out and the technical advisor confirms that the score needed has been reached the commerce gets Green Commerce Recognition.

This innovation is the result of the project

Title: Compromise For A Reduction Of The Environmental Impact Of The Retail Sector

Acronym: 
GREEN COMMERCE

Runtime: 
01.01.2010 to 30.09.2012

Status: 
completed project

Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.

Please click on an entry to view all contact details.

VALENCIAN REGIONAL DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY, COMMERCE AND INNOVATION

Field: Provision of services to the community (Spain)

Role in project: Project Coordination

Contact person: Mr. GARCÍA MESEGUER Fidel

Website: http://www.indi.gva.es

Phone: +34-963 869602

Contact

THE ASSOCIATION OF CITIES AND REGIONS FOR RECYCLING AND SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (ACR+)

(Spain)

Role in project: Dissemination and exploitation

Contact person: Mr. DE CLERCQ Olivier

Website: http://www.acrplus.org

Contact

THE DEVELOPMENT BOARD FOR THE SAN SEBASTIAN TOWN

Field: Scientific research and development (Spain)

Role in project: Conception

Contact person: SESÉ SARASTI Eukén

Website: http://www.fomentosansebastian.org

THE TECHNOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF PACKAGING, TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS

Field: Provision of services to the community (Spain)

Role in project: Implementation

Contact person: Mr. ALIAGA César

Website: http://www.itene.com

Contact

THE TORREVIEJA TOWN HALL

Field: Provision of services to the community (Spain)

Role in project: Conception

Contact person: Mrs. ESTEVE Augustina

Website: http://www.torrevieja.es