First word | Green is go!

Editor of Kitchens & Bathrooms News Philippa Turrell has noticed a seismic shift in retail perception about sustainability

09 Dec, 22

Editor of Kitchens & Bathrooms News Philippa Turrell has noticed a seismic shift in retail perception about sustainability and welcomes the dawn of a new green day.

Kbb retail is resilient

It wasn’t so long ago sustainability would be a page turning topic, for all the wrong reasons!

Despite kitchens and bathrooms being energy and water-hungry rooms, there just didn’t seem to be a real appetite for eco efficiency.

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Of course, manufacturers had invested in energy and water efficient technology in product design but there just seemed to be a disconnect at retail and consumer level.

Bathroom retailers reported consumers didn’t want to use less water in the bathroom – they wanted more water flow – and energy efficiency as a purchasing factor for kitchen appliances wasn’t as important as price.

It’s not that retailers were averse to selling ‘green’ products and projects, there just wasn’t a mainstream consumer base for sustainability.

But it seems we are now on the cusp of change.

Speaking at the recent Kbsa Kitchen & Bathroom Conference, retail futurist Kate Ancketill said it was only five years’ ago she was first asked about sustainability but over the last last two years it is at the top of everyone’s agenda.

While kitchen and bathroom manufacturers have continued to focus on material choice, reducing resource use, and considering end of life, sustainability is now playing a greater role in retail.

KBB retailers are starting to embrace sustainability as a core value of their business.

They are selecting suppliers based on their ‘green’ credentials, providing customers with charging points for electrical vehicles at their showrooms, and reducing waste in their business.

Retailers are turning their back on single use plastics, reducing their use of paper by emailing clients project images and contracts, and collaborating with used kitchen resellers.

In fact, used kitchen resellers are becoming more familiar to the high street, with Magnet having launched a rehome service for consumers to trade in preloved kitchens.

Kitchen resellers allow retailers to sell off stock, at the same time as encouraging clients to refurbish with a financial incentive to remove their kitchen.

This service has also been expanded to the bathroom sector, providing a sales channel for ex-displays and excess stock.

And KBB retailers are now even considering how to communicate sustainability instore.

Day True is set to hold an event to demonstrate how water efficiency can be communicated effectively in high-end showroom environments.

In fact, such has been the turnaround, leading kitchen and bathroom specialists taking part in a debate at the Kbsa conference welcomed legislation on sustainability.

They believe it will help drive the agenda of sustainability, educating both consumers and business.

And with the Unified Water Label set to be mandatory by law, for water-using products, the aim is to do exactly that.

With such a move, KBB retailers haven’t just been given a green light but a go ahead directive to promote, inform and educate consumers about sustainability and sell more eco-solutions.