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Greentailing and Other Revolutions in Retail

By Neil Z. Stern and Willard N. Ander. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2008, 241 pages, $29.95.

Reviewed by David Sokol

America’s retailers shouldn’t hold their breaths for a lucrative holiday season. But perhaps they should request a copy of this book as a personal stocking stuffer. Stern and Ander are time-tested retail consultants whose clients include some of the biggest names in business. So if these experts have identified ecologically responsible retailing as a viable business practice, now might be a good time for our giant shopping machine to change course.

Greentailing and Other Revolutions in Retail
Image courtesy John Wiley & Sons
Greentailing and Other Revolutions in Retail
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Architects involved in retail design are not going to uncover any secrets here: The authors’ tips for greening bricks-and-mortar shops would seem obvious to anyone familiar with the field—they include switching to LEDs and installing skylights. Yet unlike, say, a piece-by-piece anatomization of a sustainable retail environment, Greentailing examines sustainability through all steps of the retail cycle, including the supply chain, packaging, and perhaps most important, educating consumers about these efforts in corporate responsibility. Considering the planet from the factory to the cash register is a recipe for avoiding greenwashing. And designers, who are becoming increasingly involved in all aspects of retailer clients’ brands, would benefit from arming themselves with that wider perspective.

A note about the full name of this book, which is Greentailing and Other Revolutions in Retail: Hot Ideas That are Grabbing Customers’ Attention and Raising Profits: Although “hot” might riff on global warming, it actually refers to the last 100 pages, which are devoted to five other trends that have the potential to catch fire. Apparently, perhaps unfortunately, our author-forecasters are not placing all their bets on environmentalism.

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