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RILA, ICSC in partnership to improve energy efficiency in leased spaces

BY Marianne Wilson

Three groups have joined together to empower commercial building landlords and tenants to improve energy efficiency in leased space and reap up to $5 billion in annual energy savings.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) are launching a coordinated national effort, called the Landlord-Tenant Energy Partnership, to reduce energy use across billions of square feet of leased space.

The alliance, announced at RILA’s annual Retail Sustainability & Environmental Compliance conference, will build upon standards for energy-aligned leasing (or “green leasing”) practices established by IMT and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Green Lease Leaders program. These practices — improve the tenant site selection process; increase transparency of tenant utility consumption in office and retail buildings; promote adoption of energy-efficient build-out methods; and increase landlord-tenant interaction to enable energy-saving efforts throughout the course of a tenant’s leases — position tenants and landlords to make more-informed business decisions regarding their operations and leased space.

The new partnership will also coordinate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program and U.S. Department of Energy's upcoming tenant-focused initiative.

“Energy management within leased stores continues to be a challenge for many retailers,” said Erin Hiatt, senior manager, sustainability and compliance at RILA. “This partnership is an opportunity to engage all relevant parties to overcome these obstacles as an industry and establish leading practices moving forward.”

Ultimately, Hiatt said, RILA’s goal for this partnership is to help both tenants and landlords work together to unlock energy-saving and cost-saving opportunities.

To kick off its efforts, the partnership has established an advisory group of representatives from some of the largest companies with national real estate portfolios, including CBRE, Kimco Realty Corp., and Nike. (The current list of advisors can be found at Landlordtenantenergypartnership.org.)

“As the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, CBRE sees landlord-tenant collaboration on energy efficiency as a crucial way to improve whole-building energy performance across our portfolio and to reach our corporate sustainability and carbon reduction goals,” said Lisa Colicchio, director of corporate responsibility for CBRE. "I look forward to working with IMT, RILA, and ICSC to bolster this important dynamic in the real estate sector and capture associated returns on our investments.”

Participants will receive access to expert one-on-one guidance on implementing energy efficiency in leased spaces, best-in-class resources such as model lease language and build-out specifications, insights into leading landlord-tenant issues such as data sharing efforts, and access to innovative pilot projects and business models.

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Hiring for the Holidays: What Retailers Need to Succeed

BY CSA STAFF

With the holidays right around the corner, retailers are already setting up for the biggest shopping season of the year. This year, retail revenue for the holidays is expected to surpass $1 trillion, compared to last year’s total of $626.1 billion.

One of the many holiday preparations brands are making to deal with this influx is bulking up in-store resources. At least 700,000 short-term retail jobs are assumed to be added across the U.S. this holiday season, helping brands fill gaps in-stores and on the back-end.

Target was the first retailer to announce it will be hiring 75,000 short-term employees for the 2016 holiday season and J.C. Penney quickly followed suit revealing its plans to bring on 40,000 seasonal employees. With these hiring increases, retailers are looking to deliver a strong omnichannel customer experience during the holidays, but to achieve this brands need to focus on few key areas.

Get aligned and get on board

Success this season begins with getting new employees started on the right foot. With thousands of new employees coming onboard, quick, yet comprehensive training will be the key to strong teams. While some retailers will need to set brand expectations and holiday policies early-on, many will have to keep in mind that new hires don’t have the luxury to learn over time. Although customer expectations continue to increase, brands will need to remember that their reputation lies with their employees who need to be supported and remain informed.

Developing documentation around employee expectations and brand standards is a great way to start the onboarding process, and ensures employees know what to do under high-stress times.

A great way to keep employees and managers up-to-date, is to create and share information in real-time. With access to updated reports and data, teams across all your locations will be able to move quickly and create a seamless experience in the run-up to the holidays. By creating this knowledge share up and down the chain, retailers will be able to keep everyone moving in the same direction towards company goals.

However, alignment across the company shouldn’t be limited to sharing company information and documents, but extended to each of your brand’s connected channels. Regardless of which channel consumers shop on this season, consumers expect brand consistency, and retailers need to be prepared to deliver.

One brand, one experience

Whether on their smartphones or in-stores, today’s consumers expect their shopping experience to be fast, convenient, and consistent. When it comes to online shopping, consumers want their goods to be delivered faster than last year, while some may be turned off by the risks and anxieties associated with missing packages and the hassle of dealing with returns.

As a result, many consumers will turn to an omnichannel experience of both online and offline throughout the holiday season. With these expectations in mind, retailers will need to bolster teams across their stores, fulfillment warehouses, and e-commerce teams in order to be ready for the rush.

For brands, this means creating a consistent experience with transparency across all locations and platforms, including online and in-store teams. Avoiding internal confusion and mistakes can start with providing access to data all teams can benefit from, such as inventory information, scheduled deliveries, and following best practices.

While the rush of the holiday season may drive teams to divide or dissolve, retailers will need to align their teams with shared company goals in order foster collaboration and cooperation across the organization. Instead of competing against one another, creating synergy between e-commerce and in-store teams will be critical for brand success and a seamless customer experience.

While the holiday season is crucial for retailers, brands don’t have to start on a blank page. Evaluating successful strategies over the year will help determine strengths and weaknesses allowing brands to pinpoint new opportunities for a strong season.

Additionally, analyzing and dissecting trends and successes across stores and online can inform strategies to finish the season and carry on into 2017.

Retailers that take the time to focus on alignment and an omnichannel shopping experience will develop strong teams that are in-sync and ready to deliver a successful holiday season.


Chris Taylor, CEO of Square Root, provider of store relationship management (SRM) software for managing corporate, store, and field operations data.

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Gap veteran fills top marketing spot at Old Navy

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Who says you can’t go home again?

Certainly not Gap Inc., which appointed Jamie Gersch as the senior VP, chief marketing officer of its Old Navy banner, reported adage.com. She replaces Ivan Wicksteed, who left the company in March. She will come aboard at the end of October.

Gersch most recently served as chief marketing officer of women’s apparel retailer Charlotte Russe. Prior to that, she spent 14 years at Gap Inc., including a stint as marketing VP at Old Navy. During this tenure, she oversaw communication strategy across all channels and led annual and seasonal marketing.

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