IADS White Paper: “Reinventing department stores through sustainability”
No longer a must-have but rather a bare necessity, sustainability is a chance for department stores to reinvent their business model, provided they find profitable ways to overcome the remaining unresolved challenges.
While the sustainability topic is not new in retail, customers have been facing the actual impacts of climate change and are increasingly asking market players to act and adjust, to the point of turning sustainability into a major factor in business decisions and investments. However, to the dismay of retail leaders, sustainability also reveals itself to be Pandora’s box, with a seemingly infinite list of complex questions. The difficulty lies in the nature itself of a challenge in perpetual motion, making sustainability “a framework rather than a destination”.
Department stores, due to their size which involves dealing with many suppliers, their central position in cities and customers’ lives, and their complex business model often including historical practices, are on the frontline of the needed changes. While they have already proven their ability to adapt to business disruption, they now face a much more holistic problem, of either radically reinventing themselves or becoming irrelevant.
In its new White Paper, “Reinventing department stores through sustainability”, the IADS extensively reviews the sustainability topic from department stores’ point of view, including where they stand, their initiatives and remaining challenges. Hard questions are raised, and potential directions are identified, keeping in mind that while sustainability is not a trend but a true structural change, the solutions built by department stores cannot be cosmetic but need to efficiently and financially address the topic if they want to survive.