Sustainability in the European Shop Window
This paper provides an exploratory overview of the sustainability agendas being publicly reported by Europe’s leading retailers and the nature of the reporting process and offers some wider reflections on the ways these retailers are currently addressing and pursuing sustainability agendas. The paper draws its empirical material from the most recent sustainability reports posted on the Internet by seven of Europe’s top ten retailers. The findings reveal that while there is considerable variation in the structure of the retailers’ sustainability reports, two broad sets of themes can be identified. Namely the environmental, social and economic issues the retailers report on and how these issues are reported. More critically it is argued that Europe’s leading retailers are, at best, adopting a ‘weak’ model of sustainability and that in pursuing continuing growth they are ignoring the basic fact that present patterns of consumption are unsustainable in the long term.
Key wordsEuropean Retailers Sustainability Consumption
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