Looking to provide a sustainability program for its members, the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) partnered this month with the Ratio Institute, an independent nonprofit dedicated to sustainable efficiencies.
The sustainability program offers food retailers education; a certification program; and the marketing materials needed to create awareness around their sustainability initiatives, IGA said in a statement.
Food retailers are among the highest energy users of all commercial building types, Peter Cooke, Ratio Institute co-founder, said in a statement. “With razor-thin profit margins, the average U.S. grocery store sells about $17 million in product annually but is left with only $300,000 in profit (a margin of 1.7 percent),” Cooke said.
Cooke added that efficiency should be a top concern for all independent retailers.
"Every dollar of energy costs reduced is equivalent to $18 in revenue,” Cooke said. “That means that by implementing small practices, that can save your store $15,000 a year. The potential revenue benefits could be $270,000, exponentially improving an independent grocer’s bottom line.”
IGA said the Ratio Institute partnership offers a "striking opportunity" for independents to differentiate themselves in the market, IGA CEO John Ross said in a statement. “Gen Z’s concern for sustainability creates a competitive edge, making independents more attractive to both future shoppers and staffers, provided operators act and then clearly communicate the steps they are taking on sustainability," Ross said.
The will help independent stores achieve their sustainability goals by benchmarking performance, reducing costs and increasing margins through practices like waste and recycling management and energy efficiencies, IGA said in a statement.
The program, which also offers a free self-assessment noting and answering questions about sustainability KPIs, is now available through the Retail Learning Institute, an online education organization serving more than 10,000 retail stores worldwide.