A viable sustainable garden retail industry: final report

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Abstract

Garden Organic has tried for over 50 years to develop a more sustainable approach to gardening and the garden industry. Although a lot was achieved, the fact remains that organic horticultural and agricultural production is still a niche albeit growing from a low level. Organic gardening as a non-commercial activity has seen a much better uptake and is not a niche market, although, as it is not certified, the exact numbers are not certain. In the meantime sustainability in the form of personal carbon footprints or whole business audits has become an ever more important aspect of daily life and successful competitive businesses. This is most likely to increase in the future. Therefore, we have developed this questionnaire to assess where different businesses of the garden industry are positioning themselves. In conclusion there is quite a lot of interest in sustainability as a concept in the garden industry and across all sectors. The same can be said for consumers and industry supply chain customers. However when it comes to independent certification and measuring sustainability achievements against hard facts the picture changes somewhat. Most companies have no independent sustainability audit in place; they think that sustainability is not among the top three product issues when consumers buy their products. In contradiction to this more then 55% report that consumers are already currently actively asking for sustainable or organic products. This may obviously change in the future, but it is unlikely to go away despite recessions or other crises as the underlying fundamentals of climate change, natural resource depletion, deforestation, pollution of soil, water and air are unlikely to change. In addition all of these factors may lead to price increases, touching on one of the key drivers for both consumers and retailers. It is clear from our survey that the garden retail sector does take the issue of sustainability seriously. There is a definite interest within the sector in taking a lead in guiding and supporting consumers to make more sustainable choices. What has yet to be determined is what exactly those choices might be, how it is to be done and what impact it might have on suppliers.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationRyton
PublisherGarden Organic
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2012

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