JTI and responsible business network, Business in the Community (BITC) teamed up with Sussex retailer Alpesh Shingadia to create a plan for his shop to become more environmentally sustainable.

Here’s how he’s got on. 

CHALLENGES AND CHANGES 

Understand emissions: Alpesh’s first step was to find out how much energy he is using, which was higher than he expected. “With the number of chillers in store, we have to focus on bringing that down. We have an island chiller with no doors, which we’re looking to retrofit,” Alpesh says. 

Appoint a sustainability champion: Alpesh has identified a member of staff who is now tasked with shaping his sustainability policy. Her role is to speak to customers and research ideas to help him run a more sustainable business. “She has enabled us to understand the trends,” he says. 

Run a customer survey: More loose fruit & veg and additional vegan products were the two big takeaways from Alpesh’s survey. “I was surprised as pre-packed goods tend to be cheaper, but there’s a big need for loose. We’ll now look to expand our range through trial and error.” 

Refit sustainably: As well as retro-fit chillers, Alpesh is sustainably refitting his store by keeping 90% of his current shelving and selling on equipment to other retailers rather than sending them to landfill. “Sensors on our lights are also a must,” he explains. 

Collaborate effectively: Alpesh is keeping track of the lessons he has learnt throughout the project to share with suppliers and other retailers. “Now we know our emissions, we can measure them again once we’ve finished our refit and communicate the reduction to our customers, too.” 

Read more news and advice on sustainable retail