The Retail Industry Leaders Association on Tuesday released the 2015 Retail Sustainability Management Maturity Matrix, a new tool for retail sustainability executives to identify possible pathways to strong environmental sustainability programs.

Developed by RILA and Deloitte Consulting LLP, the matrix represents the collective knowledge of many industry experts as to leading sustainability management practices. The matrix is divided into seven sections: Strategy & Commitment, People & Tools, Visibility, Retail Operations, Supply Chain, Products, and Environmental Issues. Each section documents business practices to help retailers determine the maturity of their sustainability programs.

RILA noted that stronger sustainability programs can lead to improved financial performance, better brand reputation and other critical business benefits for retailers. In addition, the matrix provides benchmarks and guidelines for achieving improved sustainability performance.

“The Retail Sustainability Management Maturity Matrix guides retailers through every dimension of their sustainability program, from initial development, to meeting the standard considerations, to a leading-class performance,” said Adam Siegel, vice president of sustainability and retail operations for RILA. “Further, it documents ‘next practices’ to signal the future direction of leading companies. We see this as a great opportunity to help retailers measure the sustainability performance of their operations, products and supply chains, and to tell the industry’s story.”

RILA will use the matrix to benchmark the industry in 2015 and beyond through an online survey. The results will be used to determine the industry’s priorities, dictating the topics of focus for RILA events, calls and its annual Retail Sustainability Conference, with the next one set for Sept. 15 to 18 in Austin, Tex.
RILA’s members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers that together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales.