Green stores are the future


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With climate change becoming a pressing concern for everyone, adopting a sustainable lifestyle is increasingly becoming the norm. More businesses are taking bold steps to transcend the trend and transform their shops to become greener stores in the process.

This movement, fueled by modern consumers demanding products aligned with their eco-friendly and nature-conscious ambitions, is gaining traction in the local retail sector. Businesses are also setting new standards for corporate responsibility by recognizing the changing societal expectations.

The mission is clear: consumers want companies and stores, as well as themselves to some extent, to reduce their carbon footprint. They want to purchase products that help protect the environment and the planet. Sustainable shopping and green retailing involves considering how our choices impact the planet.

But what is a green store?

For Starbucks, their "Greener Store" concept includes establishments that meet standards across several environmental impact areas, including water stewardship, energy efficiency, waste diversion, renewable energy, responsible materials, partner engagement, sites and  communities, health, and wellbeing. They developed these standards in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and SCS Global Services.

In the Philippines, there are three Starbucks Greener Stores located at One Ayala, Ayala Triangle Gardens, and Commonwealth corner Peseta. These stores are designed for a more sustainable experience with features like state-of-the-art timeout faucets to reduce water waste, the use of 100 percent LED lighting for energy conservation, and enhanced air conditioning technology meant to optimize energy use.

In 2022, SM Department Store launched SM Green Finds, highlighting its commitment “to make it simple and easy for shoppers to have greener options.” The retail giant offers products that are eco-friendly, made from natural ingredients, and support local communities and artisans. SM Green Finds is one of the initiatives under the SM Green Movement, a collective effort by the Sy-led group of companies in advocating and promoting green living, culture, and planet.

Recently, Watsons Philippines opened its first Greener Store in San Pedro, Laguna. This pioneering project utilizes renewable energy sources, sustainable in-store materials and fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, sustainable choice products, refilling stations, and water minimization initiatives.

The health and wellness retailer approaches this milestone as a key testament to its commitment to sustainability in the Philippines. Marking a significant shift toward sustainable practices, the Watsons Greener Store makes sustainability more approachable and achievable for everyday consumers. It aims to “minimize waste and empower customers to make eco-conscious choices, contributing to a healthier planet.”

In the end, green stores are the building blocks of a green economy. The United Nations Environment Programme defines a green economy as “low carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.”

With this, it can be said that green stores are the future. The call for consumers to drive this monumental change by supporting businesses that prioritize sustainability is apparent. By participating in this movement, we can help build a greener, healthier planet for future generations.

(Rey Robes Ilagan is the editor of Manila Bulletin’s Environment and Sustainability section.)