How important is Environmental Sustainability to your business and why?

Environmental Sustainability is important to us because it’s all about improving efficiencies. Having a mindset of knowing what you’re wasting and then finding ways to re-use those products is great to have as a retailer – and my customers think so, too. Running a convenience store isn’t just about making money, but doing the right thing for the environment, too – it makes it more personal.

What three things have you done since June 2021 that set you apart in Environmental Sustainability?

  1. We installed a Soda Stream machine and the refill gas bottles, reducing the amount of plastic being used on water bottles. We’ve sold at least £1,000 worth of gas bottles and selling two cases a week less of 2l spring water.
  2. We expanded our refillable range to include dishwasher powder. This adds to our already extensive refillable range, like fruit and veg, and helps to drive footfall.
  3. We removed most of our meat products that came from a main supplier, instead using local suppliers. This has helped to reduce our food miles and carbon footprint, and now 75% of our meat comes from local suppliers.

What’s the biggest trend or challenge you’ve adapted to (besides Covid-19) in Environmental Sustainability since 2021?

The biggest challenge has been our electricity consumption. We now use all green electric and when our previous supplier went into liquidation, we struggled to find another supplier and keep the price similar to before. We found one in Octopus, but the price did increase, however.

The other challenge was when we moved to compostable carrier bags. It was a challenge because of cost and supply, but we overcame this by increasing the price and keep customers informed.

What’s the biggest and best change you’ve made in your business in Environmental Sustainability since June 2021 and why?

The Soda Stream has been our biggest and best change we’ve made. Our aim with sustainability is not using recycled products but reusing the same product. The refillable lines mean customers bring the bottle or container back in. We think about how can we make sure things are reused to increased our sustainability efforts.

What have you done when thinking of Environmental Sustainability to retain shoppers since June 2021?

We introduced an incentive on the loose fruit and veg to encourage customers to buy them, which was a loyalty scheme. If they use their own washable veg bag or bring their own bag, we’ll stamp a card when they’ve spent £5 on the category. After 10 visits, they’ll get 5% on food across the whole store.

Who would you recommend retailers turn to if they’re looking to improve Environmental Sustainability?

Look at the Retail Success Handbook on Sustainability. It was filled with advice and is a good place to start. But also, attend trade shows, like the National Convenience Show. There’s a lot there and all in one place.