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Report: Green strategies pay off

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New York City Retailers who pursue a green agenda have a significant opportunity to reduce costs, according to a new study by SSA & Co., a global operations consulting firm.

The study: "Going Green in the Retail Industry," draws on more than 20 environmental projects with some of the world's leading retail companies. The study found that retailers were able to improve their performance by an average of 30% to 40% in such areas as energy consumption, recycling, and waste reduction, saving those companies tens of millions of dollars annually.

"Going green isn't just good corporate citizenship -- it's a strategy for driving out inefficiency," says Suzanne Long, retail practice leader, SSA & Co., which helps companies go green through process improvement methodology.

According to Long, efforts to reduce environmental waste ought to be a huge target for retail managers. A recent study of the grocery industry, for example, estimated that nearly $20 billion worth of food products are thrown into the waste stream annually.

"Retailers should be attacking these issues with full force, not only because it's good for the environment, but because it's an incredible opportunity to improve financial performance," Long said.

The study also provides examples of the impact of utilizing process improvement methodologies in green projects. For example, working with SSA, one major U.S. retail company reduced cardboard and plastic waste by more than 4 million lbs. annually, reduced compactor waste by more than 10 million lbs. annually, and reduced total bag utilization by 8%, or more than 14 million bags per year.

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