“Change always comes with a price, but change is inevitable as we need to move with the times and shift our mindsets towards longer-term goals,” the spokesperson added. “In the long run, being sustainable will actually be more beneficial for retailers to attract and retain more customers and reduce expenses.”
The journey to sustainability
Takashimaya opened its first store in Kyoto, Japan, in 1831, selling gofuku (formal kimono). It started expanding in the early 1930s and is now one of the largest department store operators in Asia, with a presence in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.
Since launching in Singapore on the famous Orchard Road in 1993, Takashimaya has grown to offer more than 240 brands, including Jurlique, Pigeon, Seafolly, Adidas and Speedo. For the past few years, it has been promoting a greener retail experience and introducing sustainability-focused programs in its stores.
According to Takashimaya, even before the global health crisis, businesses around the world were seeking to become more sustainable, but the pandemic moved them to act on those plans.
“The crisis has got people rethinking what is truly important, beyond profits and more about what kind of roles they want to play in this new normal,” the spokesperson said.
One area in which retailers can take the lead is through eco-friendly store design. Here’s what businesses need to do, according to Takashimaya:
1: Start by switching to sustainable packaging and bagging alternatives
The global sustainable plastic packaging market is projected to grow by 5.6 per cent, from US$89 billion in 2020 to US$117.3 billion by 2025, according to a study from Research and Markets.
The study also indicated that the Asia Pacific region would account for the largest share in the sustainable packaging market in terms of value and volume between 2020 and 2025.
2: Choose sustainable building materials, such as paint, lights and appliances
As demand for sustainable products continues to grow in every sector, the construction industry has also started developing more innovative and green materials.
Retailers trying to reduce their environmental impact should use non-VOC (volatile organic compounds) or low-VOC paint, also called green paint. VOCs, which are released at room temperature, are not only harmful to humans; they also play a significant role in the formation of ozone. While naturally occurring ozone in the atmosphere is good for the planet, the type of ozone created by VOCs remains at ground level and harms plant production.
3: Reduce your power usage and switch to alternative energy sources
According to Dodge Data & Analytics’ World Green Building Trends 2018 report, having a green building has officially become a global trend with energy conservation a top priority. The report indicated that the trend is expected to grow in the coming years. In fact, the share of firms that have more than 60 per cent of their projects certified green has grown from 16 per cent to 45 per cent.
4: Digitise and reduce paper wastage from daily operations
Paper accounts for 25 per cent of waste in landfill and 33 per cent of municipal waste, according to technology company Timico. About 68 million trees are cut down each year to produce paper and paper products.
Businesses can avoid this by digitising their operations, such as using email receipts. Takashimaya has reduced its paper use by about 50 per cent since embracing digital.
“There will be more retailers changing their strategies across all fronts — brands have been sourcing for more upcycled or sustainable materials,” the company’s spokesperson said.
The #ShopGreener campaign
Takashimaya plans to increase its ‘phygital’ (technology that bridges the digital and physical worlds) offering in 2021 as it looks to engage online shoppers and work with more sustainable brands.
Just last month, Takashimaya Singapore introduced its #ShopGreener campaign to encourage consumers and brand owners to be more eco-conscious.
As part of the campaign, shoppers can trade in used bottles, jars and tubes from beauty brands such as Jurlique (among others) to receive discounts and freebies.
“The department store is constantly evolving with diversifying values and changes in consumer environment and needs, and has over the years realised the importance of reducing environmental impact and promoting a sustainable future,” the Takashimaya spokesperson said.
“We are looking forward to providing a platform for more eco-green and sustainable brands to step out in the spotlight and provide better, more mindful options for our shoppers.”