Shopping at green stores – the environmental mission statement
I just saw a pretty scary program about how glaciers and ice sheets are melting even faster than we had previously realized. It got me thinking about ways companies, especially retailers, can do their part to make their businesses sustainable, starting with a business I know something about, namely gifts.
Irresponsible gift companies can adversely affect the environment in many ways: selling products made from scarce and disappearing raw materials, using excessive packing materials, or not taking full advantage of local products and thereby wasting the energy required to unnecessarily transport the products. Even small companies should be fully committed to office automation and electronic communication to minimize paper and energy consumption.
Among retailers, Starbucks is at one extreme, having established a solid reputation for environmental and community consciousness. Their environmental mission statement was initially written in 1992 and they have an environmental affairs group chartered to direct the strategy and set and track progress toward the company’s environmental goals. Macy’s is another example of a retailer with a strong sustainability plan.
Still, not all retailers have shown the same commitment to the environment. For example, neither Williams-Sonoma nor Neiman Marcus have a publicly-visible environmental mission statement.
Massachusetts Bay Trading Company is a retailer committed to the environment and sustainability as shown in their Environment Mission Statement. The company has found that sustainable products can be the best in many regards. For example, the trees used in the Spencer Peterman wooden bowls have natural patterns in wood created by special fungus that grows only after the trees have fallen. So the company never uses growing trees for their products. Locally-produced products not only reduce the energy needed for transportation, but foreign visitors always appreciate receiving locally-grown and locally-made crafts and products that reflect the local history and culture.