Sustainable Retail: Key Considerations for Environmental Design

Charlotte Hurd


When it comes to environmentally conscious and ethically minded consumers, the key is providing both transparency and honesty. Brands need to be open and humble when it comes to their sustainability credentials – sharing what has been achieved in the past and the capabilities for achieving any future goals.

Ultimately, brands will need to invest now for great returns: as studies have shown, 83% of consumers would always pick the brand that has a better record of sustainability.

Below, we outline the key environmental principles that offer retailers opportunity to create architecture and environments which are better for their consumers and better for the planet.

1. Be Transparent in Everything You Do: Ensure that your actions are authentic and honest. Your mission and values should be communicated across all touchpoints.

  1. Consider Craftsmanship in Design: Work with local designers and artists to create considered elements which will establish a subtle but impactful feeling of luxury.


  1. Offer Personalisation Opportunities: Gen Z in particular attribute elevated and luxury status to personalised elements and will treasure customised items which have been made with them in mind.

  1. Offer Rental & Recycling Services: Rental & Recycle services not only help cut down on waste but also help to build a loyal community. These schemes offer opportunity for consumers to interact with your brand again and again, in new ways.

  1. Use Innovative Materials: Wherever possible, furnishings should be made from natural, renewable and recycled materials but it is also key to consider ways in which you can utilise otherwise wasted materials in new ways.

  1. Consider Energy Efficiency: Implement an effective energy management system early on and consider this across design elements to help reduce overall. carbon footprint.

  1. Determine a Flexible Operations Strategy: Use technology plugins to accelerate and enable waste management, manage stock in more intelligent ways and reduce overall impact.

  1. Consider Modularity: Modular construction not only offers more flexibility when it comes to the lifespan of your materials but also a variety of possibilities for the configuration of your store, meaning that the consumer can experience different things each time they visit.

  1. Implement Biophilia & Consider Green Architecture: Design wellness cues into built environments and incorporate elements like biophilia, air purifiers and therapeutic colours.

  1. Build Community through Education: Provide opportunity for your consumer to learn. Don’t be afraid of an open dialogue with your consumers and be willing to change to benefit them in the best way.


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