Innovation: Green Commerce - Self -Assessment Questionnaire: Environmental evaluation of retail businesses

Last update: 13.10.2013
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environmentally responsible behaviour‚ retail trade‚ environmental awareness‚ information service‚ consumer goods‚
It is estimated that the European retail sector is responsible for 2 to 3,5% of the CO2 emissions. As commercial distribution chains release so much CO2 this is the core discussion of Green Commerce and a key aspect that will define future policies in sustainable development for transport, food industry, waste management, etc. The retail sector is going in the right direction, progressively reducing their operations impacts. This is due to the increase in environmental norms, the development of new efficient technologies, but also, the growing number of environmentally ethical entrepreneurs and desire or appreciation of consumer for greener products as well as industry.

The main environmental ambitions Green Commerce emphasizes include:
• Energy: small size retailers could have major savings if they switched to more environmentally-geared systems for light, heat and refrigeration.

• Waste recycling: approximately 10 to 15% of municipal waste comes from the retail sector as commercial waste, with the added problem of its big volume.

• Plastic bags, packaging: The plastic that plastic bags and bottles are made of represents almost 40% of the total European consumption. It is estimated that each person use between 130 and 160 plastic bags every year.

• Water: Some commercial sub-sectors, such as food retailers, are important consumers of water and contribute a great deal to the worsening of the hydraulic deficit of some regions, especially in the Mediterranean areas. Through Green Commerce, we will promote measures to save rather than waste water.

• Eco-labelling and responsible consumption: eco-labelling is distinctive in that it stimulates consumers to choose products and services more respectful of the environment. More and more people are understanding it is not enough to seem respectful of the environment, rather they must be influenced to do so in their usual consumption behaviour. Environmental labels are still not well-known or understood - even with European Eco-Label.Green Commerce aims to clarify and build awareness around how these labels can provide a better purchasing decision.

• Transport: The distribution and supply activity in commercial establishments generate a lot of environmental impacts - mainly of which are from the transport. A small sized retailer undertakes, in average, ten loading and unloading operations, however in some sub-retail sector they are larger. The goods transported to retailers, usually made with conventional vehicles, generate4 to 5 eq/tn of CO2 yearly. The larger amount of emissions are produced in cities where the logistic-distribution chains are largest.

• Commercial equipment: It is usual to see in small sized retailers a large range of appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, telephones, faxes, scanners, photocopies machines, televisions, DVD’s, etc. We will be inspiring the retail sector to use more efficient equipment, showing the ecological and economical benefits to doing so.


The objectives of Green Commerce are:

- To involve small retail shops in the campaign against climate change
- To promote environmental responsibility in the retail sector
- To reduce energy consumption and the waste production by means of simple and easy measures
- To stimulate innovation in environment issues with good practices and to mobilise consumers to become more environmentally friendly
- To promote innovation to resolve environmental business issues by disseminating successful case studies
- To raise awareness with consumers about best practices for shopping respectfully regarding the environment
The main objective of the LIFE Green Commerce project is to provide the retail sector with information, access to knowledge and research and technology on new environmental management systems. The ultimate goal is for the 3.5 million firms in this sector to have their own methodology to enable them to voluntarily start a "green policy".

The project developed a recognition methodology that can be managed at European level. It also allows for new research on techniques and technologies that the sector could use to comply with EU environmental policy.

Some results expected to be obtained from specific project actions will include:

1. The creation of a new green trademark and methodology;
2. The development of new tools for environmental evaluation adapted to small retailers needs and business size;
3. 100 environmental audits to be carried out on retail companies with the implied introduction of environmental measures (i.e. energy savings, recycling of packing, responsible use of plastic bags and boxes, and water saving);
4. A 20% reduction in energy consumption and trade waste;
5. A 10% reduction of water consumption in the featured shops;
6. Deliveries of goods to the shops to be optimised to reduce travel by 5%;
7. The development of two demonstration initiatives at a local level (Torrevieja and San Sebastian);
8. The development of actions of environmental awareness at a regional level (Valencia Region); and
9. The project will be publicised at a European level with the involvement of European partners.
The Green Commerce project developed of a self-assessment software that enables businesses interested to know the degree of compliance with the requirements set for obtaining recognition Green Commerce, and to manage the implementation of corrective measures in pilot shops of participant municipalities.
The shops in other cities may also access the tool, but a subsequent visit establishments to analyze the degree of compliance with the methodology Green Commerce is only available currently for the pilot municipalities.

The first step to be able to use the self-assessment tool is registration on the website:

The self-assessment tool is based on a questionnaire, which determines whether the retail store has reached the required total score and the individual scores of each one of the environmental areas. It will also indicate actions that can be taken to improve the scores.

The questionnaire assesses the stores level of commitment to environmental aspects such as atmospheric emissions of particles and gases, consumption of materials and energy, environmental responsibility, generation of waste and by-products, noise, odours, water and other aspects that define the behaviour of the store in relation to its surroundings.

The self-assessment tool creates a summarised report including the scores obtained in each area.

Once the required minimum score has been obtained, the retail store can opt to submit to the Green Commerce recognition process, provided that its municipality has adhered to the project through the corresponding council.

In this case, a technical consultant will be assigned to evaluate the self-assessment questionnaire and visit the store to verify the responses completed in the form.

The self-assessment application contains a section on "Tasks" for the registration of improvement actions to be adopted to obtain "Green Commerce" recognition.

Once the improvements have been implemented, the establishment will receive a final visit from the technical evaluator in order to verify the actions and ratify the Green Commerce certification.

This innovation is the result of the project

Title: Compromise For A Reduction Of The Environmental Impact Of The Retail Sector


01.01.2010 to 30.09.2012

completed project

Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.

Please click on an entry to view all contact details.


Field: Provision of services to the community (Spain)

Role in project: Project Coordination

Contact person: Mr. GARCÍA MESEGUER Fidel


Phone: +34-963 869602




Role in project: Dissemination and exploitation

Contact person: Mr. DE CLERCQ Olivier




Field: Scientific research and development (Spain)

Role in project: Conception

Contact person: SESÉ SARASTI Eukén



Field: Provision of services to the community (Spain)

Role in project: Implementation

Contact person: Mr. ALIAGA César




Field: Provision of services to the community (Spain)

Role in project: Conception

Contact person: Mrs. ESTEVE Augustina