target audience: TECH BUYER  Publication date: May 2022 - Document type: IDC Perspective - Doc  Document number: # US49054122

Retail Strategies for Sustainability Through the Lens of Product Development and Life-Cycle Management

By:  Jordan K. Speer Loading


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This IDC Perspective takes a look at product design and life-cycle management as a lens for developing a sustainability strategy. Product design and life-cycle management is one of the elements under the business model and innovation pillar, which is one of IDC's five pillars of sustainability. While looking through this lens, we'll keep in mind that none of the elements of sustainability exists in a silo. Managing the design and life cycle of a product from a sustainability perspective has everything to do with carbon emissions, water use, product quality and safety, materials sourcing and efficiency, and many of the other dimensions of sustainability. Everything is connected, and that interconnectivity is the very essence of the urgency to operate sustainably. Progression toward a more sustainable enterprise requires that retailers not only focus on specific areas where they can make improvements and effect real change but also look holistically across their enterprises and ecosystems to optimize sustainability and ensure that they aren't saving a tree while the forest surrounding it withers.

"Because consumers expect businesses to operate with people and planet in mind, they expect companies to be transparent related to the impacts of their businesses," said Jordan Speer, research manager, IDC Retail Insights, adding: "To earn loyalty, retailers need to operate ethically and with transparency, pulling back the curtain to allow the consumer to see how the sausage is made. It requires work to provide that visibility, but it unlocks a treasure chest of new opportunity that creates competitive advantage through differentiation. Consumers will pay for products and services that are produced sustainably. They will pay to connect with the brands and people involved in creating and producing their products."


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