In an effort to increase our green mindset and further educate ourselves in sustainable solutions for the retail industry, Patriot Logistics sent three members of the executive management team to the 2012 RILA Retail Sustainability Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Team members felt that RILA RSC was an excellent chance to collaborate and hear from industry leaders and executives as well government representatives from California’s EPA branch
RILA puts on several top-notch conferences throughout the year. Our management team agrees that they have a good thing going and will be back next year. Read more about RILA at http://www.rila.org/about/Pages/default.aspx
This was our first year attending RILA RSC. In order to test the waters we sent 3 members of the executive and management team, including: Steve Weakley (CEO), Jerry Schott (COO), and Jarred Hettinger (Manager of Sales and Marketing). While we caught wind of the show a little too late to exhibit, we were dead set on attending once we did our research and realized the quality of the show. Our theory is that by educating and inspiring our upper management team, we can more easily paint the picture and train sustainability through our managers and from them to the rest of our employees. Not only do we identify and perform sustainable services for our clients, we acknowledge that we can always be improving our internal practices as well.
Although we didn’t exhibit, we did contribute through the sponsorship of a networking breakfast. And I must say, I would have to rate the food “above-expectation”. The breakfast was an excellent opportunity to network with retailers and vendors alike. It isn’t very often that one can revel in the moment of having some of the most brilliant minds of the CSR world in one place. From Real Estate Development Managers from Costco to Directors of Corporate Social Responsibility of REI, the room was filled with the knowledge and key players that will help drive the corporate world to a more sustainable model.
The conference was structured in typical fashion with keynote presentations followed by breakout sessions, followed by networking events with hours devours and wine in the exhibit hall. Throughout the keynotes and panelists we heard from REI, Target, Gildan, PetSmart, Petco, Wal Mart, JCPenney, Nike, and some other Retail standouts. It is always a reassuring event to hear that sustainability is at the forefront of top level managers in the corporate world. It is becoming more and more apparent that sustainable business practices go hand in hand with efficiency and economic prosperity.
The breakout sessions focused on: energy efficiency, alternative energy, supply chain management, sourcing, current and upcoming compliance issues, waste management and recycling, and many more sustainable strongholds. After hearing about some of the success and horror stories of 2011 and early 2012, Patriot managers are benchmarking current practices, re-evaluating goals and procedures, and preparing for the launch of a new internal program.
The setting of the RILA RSC proved to be more intimate than that of any tradeshow our managers had attended in recent history, which made the networking sessions much more productive than usual. During conversations with other vendors and retailers, our managers frequently discussed the Patriot Refurbishment and Redeployment Program. As expected, most retailers were not practicing the refurbishment of store fixtures, and some had never heard of the concept. There was one retailer who was utilizing the same program, but is currently performing their refurbishment in house! Our managers have made plans to meet up and compare techniques and strategies in hopes that refurb/redeploy will become mainstreamed throughout the industry.
This was an extremely productive conference overall. Our team left feeling motivated and refreshed. The conference held a healthy mix of individuals and categories; I do believe the team is in agreement that patriot will be attending this sustainability conference next year.