TORONTO — Canadian retailers who adopt sustainable business practices are differentiating themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace and also significantly reducing their costs, according to a new report released by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).

“Retailers profiled in this report demonstrate that sustainable leadership doesn’t need to be a huge endeavour and that, by taking the first step, they can create real change,” said Andrea Bolger, head, Business Financial Services, RBC. “Making a commitment to sustainable business strategies has very tangible bottom line rewards and can help mitigate environmental risks.”

The report, entitled Re-envisioning Retail, highlights the risks and opportunities associated with sustainability. Retailers who have implemented sustainable business practices and have benefited from greater efficiency and productivity, improved employee retention, and enhanced brand reputation are profiled in the report.

“Successful retailers re-envision themselves constantly; they must change as quickly as the world does,” said Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO of RCC. “Sustainability is now a necessity. This report illustrates the different ways retailers are evolving to do what is required and provides leadership to those who are looking for ways to improve their efforts.”

“We want retailers to move beyond a ‘compliance’ mind-set to viewing environmental sustainability as an integral part of their business strategy,” said Bolger. “By greening their operations they have the opportunity to realize incredible business value.”

One retail industry sustainability initiative profiled is that of Walmart Canada, which commissioned an assessment of its HVAC and energy systems at over 200 stores, resulting in changes that created a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency and will provide a payback on investment of less than three years.

Copies of the Re-envisioning Retail report are available on the Retail Council of Canada’s website at

Publication date: 04/02/2012