Retailers are trying to compete with Amazon and other online retailers, but they are also increasingly being used to sell products on the open market.
In Australia, for example, grocery giant Coles is selling a range of “fiber optic” products that it says will reduce emissions from the production of new and used items by 30%.
“A number of retailers and companies are now actively working to reduce their carbon footprint by providing retail services that enable consumers to find what they want and where they want it,” said the company’s CEO, Neil Dyson.
“With the recent announcement by Coles, we believe the retail industry is the fastest-growing sector in Australia.”
In Australia, Coles has more than 10,000 stores and more than 2,000 of these are online.
More than 1,000 Australian retailers are participating in the program and more are likely to be doing so in the future.
“The Coles and other retailers participating in our retail services program are: Costco, Walmart, Costco Wholesale, Supervalu, Walmart Home and Garden, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s, and Kmart.”
Walmart, meanwhile, announced plans to build out its own retail infrastructure to ensure that its customers can access a wide range of products and services online.
The program, dubbed e-retail, was developed in conjunction with Australian retail company, Colas.
In a statement Colas said it is an “innovative approach to building and operating a new business” that “ensures the success of a growing number of our customers, who benefit from a seamless online shopping experience and the convenience of a home delivery service”.
“This is a step in our journey to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and is a significant step towards our aim of eliminating our carbon footprint in 20 years,” the statement said.
Retailers have been trying to develop a range to compete directly with Amazon’s “fibre optic” stores and to encourage online shopping.
Last year, for instance, the Australian Retailers Association (ARC) said it was investigating whether retailers could offer customers an online store in return for an “affordable price”.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is also looking into the issue.
“The retail sector is not an exclusively low-carbon industry,” ARC chair, Professor Stephen Tugendhat, said.
“It’s an industry that’s a growing and growing part of our economy.
We’re always looking at the industry to understand what we can do to improve our environment and our environment is very important to the Australian economy.”