Some might assume that running a sustainable business is about all about making changes that will minimise the impact a business has on the environment.  But, to be successful, businesses big and small are thinking about the long term implications of everything they do from what the impact will be for their daily performance, to the wider decisions they make and how they will affect their staff, suppliers, customers and the wider community in which they operate in.

Within my role in the UK & Ireland market it has been especially exciting putting Performance With Purpose in to action by working with well respected organisations and one of the most prestigious retail award ceremonies to create an award category to recognise sustainable business practices and achievements which stores are making to their businesses now, to help make themselves even more successful in many more years to come.

So, PepsiCo UK & Ireland is sponsoring the ‘Most Sustainable Retailer of the Year’ category at the prestigious Retail Industry Awards after introducing the brand new category in 2011. We are proud to be acknowledging retailers who are building greener, healthier, more sustainable, successful businesses for their staff, customers and communities.

The judging panel includes representation from organisations such as Forum for the Future and WRAP and entries were received with much anticipation to see further results and updates on progress within stores.

Shortlisted retailers will not find out if they have won until the awards ceremony held in London on 25th September (where I am very excited to be presenting the awards for this category on the night) but delighted to share with you the shortlist of Independently run stores and multiple Grocery stores:

Budgens of Wells, Wells, Somerset
James Graven, Spar, Littleport, Cambridgeshire
Spar Lagan Valley, Henderson Retail, Lisburn, County Antrim
Thornton’s Budgens, London

The Co-operative Group
Marks & Spencer

My colleagues in Sales hope that by creating this category at such a high profile industry awards that it raises awareness of all the hard work by our retailer customers, but importantly that businesses can take inspiration from others in this area and implement ideas in their own stores and outlets.

Sally Uren Deputy Chief Executive at Forum for the Future and judge for the awards said “The Retail Industry Awards are big news in UK retail.  Historically entries have covered standard retail issues from Seafood Retailer to Fresh Product Retailer of the year, but last year, for the first time, PepsiCo UK& Ireland worked with the awards to introduce a category for sustainability.

Sally continues “One of the reasons this award is so, so important, is that it is shining a spotlight on the independent retailers – and hopefully accelerating mainstreaming in this segment of the UK retail market.  Just imagine the positive change, for local communities, local producers and local economies if all small, independent outlets fully embraced sustainability.  One thing is for sure, we would be so much closer to that sustainable future that we all would like to see.”

Helen Lyons, Publisher at Metropolis Business Media and the Retail Industry Awards said “I am delighted that PepsiCo has worked with us so closely launching this new category last year at The Retail Industry Awards. Not lip service to the sustainability and health issues, but genuine support and strategic vision that sets the bar very high for others to follow.”

Click here to view the judges’ criteria and here to view the full shortlist for 2012.