The Association for Retail Environments just announced the winners of the first-ever Sustainability Awards this year, recognizing retailers for holistic design aesthetics and functionality. This is the first time that the retail industry is calling out leaders in the field.
Outdoor retailer REI took first prize with their Round Rock, Texas prototype store which sports recyclable carpet, rubber flooring, a solar array, solar thermal water system, natural lighting, energy-efficient insulation, appliances, and HVAC system among its many features. Northface, another leading outdoors retailer, tied for second with Founding Farmers, a restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Clearly, all of the businesses that won are devoted to principles of sustainability, and cater to a clientele who places importance upon it as well. When all the Targets, Walmarts, Costcos, and Home Depots of the world are built to the same standards, that will mark a significant change for the retail industry.