NSW government hosts sustainable retail round table

Tuesday, 18 August, 2009

The NSW government will host a major business round table today to help develop the state’s sustainable retail market, Minister for State Development Ian Macdonald said.

Minister Macdonald said up to 30 people, including representatives of UK company Marks & Spencer and leading Australian retailers, will attend the event.

“This is the first of several ‘thought leadership’ round tables to be organised by Industry and Investment NSW’s International Markets division over the next 12 months,” he said.

“These round tables will feature key international guests who have achieved exceptional results in areas like sustainability.

"Today’s event brings together key representatives of the NSW retail, food and beverage, fashion and consumer goods industries to hear from Marks & Spencer on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable retailing.

"CSR is about including public interest in corporate decision-making through the honouring of a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

"Consumers are increasingly aware of the implications of purchasing decisions in terms of environmental and ethical concerns, and corporations are under pressure to examine their entire supply chains from a CSR perspective,” he said.

Macdonald said Marks & Spencer is a leading force for retail CSR in the United Kingdom through its Plan A initiative, which sets ambitious goals to be carbon neutral, cut landfill waste, source sustainable materials for products, promote healthy lifestyles for customers and set new standards in ethical trading.

"By sharing its knowledge, Marks & Spencer will help accelerate the already growing phenomenon of CSR in Australian retailing,” he said.

“There are many potential benefits for NSW companies involved in genuine CSR efforts including increased brand power, consumer appeal and increased employee engagement through greater loyalty, improved recruitment, increased retention and higher productivity.

“Bringing together a powerhouse of diverse retail interests, many of whom are already emerging as CSR leaders in their own fields here in Australia, helps each business learn from the best and helps NSW export businesses tap into key international trends which may affect their ability to compete internationally.”

Macdonald said major retailers represented at today's round table include Coles, David Jones, Darrell Lea, Myer, Westfield and Coca-Cola Amatil.

"Fashion companies will also be there including Collette Dinnigan, Zimmerman and Bird Textiles,” he said.

"Other organisations represented include the St James Ethics Centre, Cotton Australia, the Australian Retailers Association, Australian Beverages Council, Australian Food and Grocery Council, Meat and Livestock Australia, Horticulture Australia and the NSW Chamber of Fruit and Vegetables.”

Macdonald said other NSW companies will be able to benefit from the round table with key materials to be available on the department’s website via podcast within a week.

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