Thanks to Chad Norman who has been in touch with an interesting little story from the US where it appears the company behind major retail brands Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Work is not taking its environmental responsibilities as seriously as it claims.
Apparently the purveyor of frilly knickers and bath salts has told its retail managers to keep the door to their stores open at all times so that the cold air spilling out onto the steaming hot sidewalk will entice people into the stores – apparently the pictures of Gisele in her smalls are not proving sufficiently attractive to passers-by.
Of course, this energy profligate strategy is made somehow worse by the fact that Limited Brands Inc, the company that owns Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Work, has recently made a big play of its green credentials, investing in new sustainable catalogues and releasing an environmental stewardship document that includes a commitment to "conserve energy and preserve natural resources".
But as Norman points out "they need to know that leaving doors open in summer is wasting energy faster than their new lighting can save it". Moreover, this strategy sends out the signal that the company is putting the opportunity for a fraction more sales above its own environmental commitments.
An open shop door may not seem like the worst environmental sin, but with the problem being global on scale and with retail outlets estimated to use 275 kilowatt hours (kWh) per square metre, almost treble that of commercial offices, it is a major issue.
It is also a year round problem, as a report in the Sunday Times last year showed, with many retail chains refusing to shut their doors whether they are running air conditioning or heaters.
Of course many chains do shut their doors and their business does not seem to suffer as a result. Which begs the question as to why all retailers cannot follow their lead?
After all, failure to do so is not only costing them money in the form of higher energy bills it is also going to cost them plenty in the form of bad PR as growing numbers of customers, such as Mr Norman, realise that these open doors are the clearest possible signal that a retailers' environmental commitments are only skin deep.
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