It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of sustainability in retail was something of a niche concept, reserved for luxury retailers that incorporated some foliage within their store layout. 

However, in the last few years the voices arguing for sustainability and the need to act now have been more vocal (just think of the movement to reduce the number of plastic straws used!). 

As a result, more companies are waking up to the need to act, which of course spans into retail and the high street. Join us as we take a look into how brands are weaving sustainability into many aspects of their store design.

The Sustainable Store

​​​​Sustainable Retail Design

Earlier this year, Swedish furniture giant IKEA did their bit with the opening of their most sustainable branch located in the UK. Opened in February, the Greenwich store has a wide variety of features including a range of green technology and a roof garden. This store which covers 32,000 square meters is aiming to be something a little different, acting as more of a hub for the community with green spaces that will be open to the public, and flexible working areas. 

There will even be an area where both customers and residents can come to learn about living a more sustainable life – the perfect concept of a sustainable project giving back to the wider community.

Everything from the location of the store, which is more central and therefore closer to local transport links, to the renewal building materials use to create the building itself and the solar panels which IKEA hope will provide them with 100% renewable energy has been included with sustainability in mind. 


Sustainable Retail Design

While we’re discussing sustainability, there perhaps isn’t a retail design more widely known for its consideration of the environment than within Lush.

In a recent conversation about their Penny Lane store opening, “As a serious campaigner for environmental stewardship, Lush delivers exactly what it promises by weaving their ecological ideologies into the very fabric of their stores. 

This was evident when fitting-out the brand’s Penny Lane store in Lancaster, which was done under strict SKA sustainability guidelines. The retail design itself uses recycled materials such as reclaimed FSC certified timbers, brick, and tiles, in addition to eco-friendly paint, to complement the explosion of colour from the cosmetics on display.”

Sustainability beyond the store environment

​​​​Sustainable Retail Design

It’s not only store design that’s the centre of attention when it comes to sustainability. As we saw in H&M’s recent opening, sustainability beyond the store environment is being promoted by incorporating signage & messages throughout.

Designers, Dalziel & Pow, explained this concept: “Each of the till areas houses messaging that encourages shoppers to recycle their old clothing for a small, incentivising discount and, on the first floor, a section of the store is dedicated to H&M’s new ‘Repair and Remake’ station.”

Here we see that an eco-friendly approach is being adopted not only in the choices the design team make when purchasing in-store fit out materials, but also extending this by creating new areas within store layouts that are dedicated to sustainability (and in this case - potentially reducing the chances of a purchase due to being able to repair previously bought items). Although this, of course, aligns with H&Ms brand values and helps establish a strong marketing message.

Sustainable to the core

Aluminium and LED illumination are at the core of every solution we create here at Unibox. And while you may have seen these facts rolled out quite a few times before, we thought they were worth mentioning:

  • 75% of aluminium ever produced is still in use today
  • LEDs typically reduce energy consumption by 80%, putting less demand on natural energy reserves
  • LED lights typically last between 5-10 years, reducing the amount of waste going to landfill

Plus, the majority of the products we create are made to be modular, meaning you can use them again and again, repurposing the display for different applications, seasons, promotions and much more.

To see what you can create with Unibox, click here.