Going Green: The Implications of Sustainability for Commercial Activities
By Jim Simmons and Shizue Kamikihara
'Green retailing' has become the latest buzz-term within the retail industry. The numerous ways in which contemporary consumption impact climate and environmental change (e.g., carbon footprints, energy consumption, etc.) and the resulting growing demand from consumers for 'green' goods and services has firmly placed sustainability issues on the radar screen of major retailers and developers. With concerns, for example, over the availability and sourcing of raw materials (e.g., fossil fuels, food staples), spiraling energy and commodity prices and pressures on global logistics chains, the long-term sustainability of contemporary consumption and commercial activities has been thrown into question. How will consumers and retailers respond? What will these changes mean in terms of urban form and the location of commercial activities? This research letter presents selected evidence as to the nature, scale and extent of these changes and envisages the processes of adaptation that are likely to take place. While such crystal-ball gazing is open to substantial debate, disagreement and disregard, we leave it up to the reader to question the scenarios presented and to draw their own conclusions.