The last few years have been almost brutal to the retail industry, and retail margins are under greater pressure due to increasing costs and the constraints on consumer spending caused by the global recession. Declining margins make it imperative for retail companies to invest in initiatives that can both reduce energy consumption and optimize profits.
Retailers use about 20 percent of the energy consumed by all commercial businesses, and they are the fastest-growing commercial category of energy users. As energy prices around the world rise continually, energy costs are fast becoming a burden for retailers. In addition, as energy and environmental concerns grow, consumers are showing a greater preference for the products of manufacturers and retailers who are taking steps to protect and conserve the environment. Lastly, governments and regulatory authorities in many countries are using the carrot-and-stick approach towards ecological conservation, providing several tax benefits to those who limit their carbon footprint and levying increasingly severe penalties and fines on those who don't.
Many retailers are taking active measures to reduce and optimize their energy consumption. However, their efforts are undermined by poor understanding about the distribution of energy consumption, non-standardized store formats, aging energy infrastructure and volatile energy prices. Energy management technology can help overcome these challenges. For e.g. Wipro EcoEnergy is currently engaged with a US-based retail client with 1000+ stores across US, to manage their energy infrastructure and reduce energy consumption.
Going green is a win-win situation for retailers. Not only are energy-reduction initiatives about good PR and corporate citizenship, they are also about reducing costs and staying profitable - doing good to both the environment and the bottom-line.