- April 22 marks the official celebration of Earth Day, but food retailers have been promoting their environmental initiatives on social media and at special events throughout the month to lure environmentally conscious shoppers, according to Supermarket News.
- Kroger is offering discounts on products with eco-friendly certifications such as Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council and others on a new website, SustainabilityLivesHere.com. The site offers more than $60 in digital coupons, recipes featuring eco-friendly products and more information about the retailer's eco-friendly practices.
- Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, a Colorado-based organic produce specialist, is highlighting eight product vendors it believes demonstrate outstanding environmental responsibility in a series of Facebook posts. The grocer will also offer special promotions on items from those companies from April 21-23.
Earth Day is no longer a niche holiday celebrated by just the truest of environmentalists. In 2017, millions of people around the world commemorate the event by working to reduce their carbon footprint.
Positioning a brand as environmentally conscious is no longer just a bonus for retailers — it's a growing necessity. When price and convenience were the biggest drivers of consumer purchase in the past, today's shopper is willing to pay more for mission-based products dedicated to causes they care about. A survey by Forrester Research showed more than half of consumers say they are environmentally conscious, and those numbers are rising every month.
Earth Day is a prime opportunity for retailers to show off sustainability initiatives and push their brands as eco-friendly. Many major retailers like Kroger and Natural Grocers already have hefty environmental programs in place, and are simply making these efforts more transparent to shoppers through special in-store signage, website information and in-store product promotions.
But for retailers who haven't made significant strides in environmental sustainability, this time of year can be an excellent opportunity to make a commitment to causes that shoppers are interested in, such as ethical sourcing and fair trade. Community activities are another great opportunity for positive PR. For example, Market of Choice, a 10-store chain based in Eugene, OR has partnered with NuNaturals and Forest Nation to encourage elementary-aged school children to create Earth Day posters in a competition that will award winning entrants trees for their classes to plant.
Retailers should invest in strategies that will differentiate them from competitors in the sustainability space, and should seek opportunities to own different aspects of environmental sustainability, such as working to end deforestation or save pollinator habitats.