Over the past few years – as the general population has increased its awareness of the environmental issues at large in society – retailers have had to adopt a greater ‘eco stance’ in the quest to attract customers and protect our planet.
Here, James Lavin, managing director at large-format graphic display specialist Leach, discusses the message being received from the retail market and how it is important for companies to adapt and stay current, while playing their part in ‘being green’…
At the start of 2019, Leach commissioned a survey which focused on the high street challenges experienced by retailers. And, a key discovery was that environmental considerations are now one of the main priorities for this sector when it comes to selecting suppliers – including their graphic display providers.
This highlights the need for those in the supply chain – from manufacturers to installation and fit out teams – to be fully aware of this requirement when designing new products and pitching for work, as this green agenda is certainly not going to disappear any time soon.
Reacting to findings such as this and moving with the times is a vital way to ensure marketplace longevity, and Leach certainly isn’t afraid to keep up with new trends and technologies – that’s why the brand has been around for over a century!
We are renowned for our Vision Lightboxes, which are the culmination of years of research, innovation and expertise – bringing together HD quality print, an aluminium profile design and eye-catching illumination. These – alongside other products in the range including acoustic solutions, wallcoverings and external signage – are used to create attractive and engaging customer-facing retail environments.
But Leach has always had an ‘eco’ conscience, with products incorporating LED lights for energy efficiency, changeable graphics to promote reusability, and lightweight – even rollable – solutions – to reduce transport costs.
In recent times however – aware of the growing environmental credentials that companies are expected to uphold – Leach has taken a step further, inviting customers to participate in a series of ‘innovation forums’. These open debate sessions allow clients to put forward their concerns and requirements for future products, and – as a customer-focused business – this has helped Leach to work with these organisations to shape our R&D.
The latest outcome is 12 months and £100,000 of investment into next-generation graphic display solutions with even greater green-performance – and now we are hoping that others will follow suit.
Knowing many retailers are loath to invest in expensive graphic display equipment for fear of appearing to have no eco-conscience, we’ve engineered options which can reduce retailers’ carbon impact with no detriment to the visual offering whatsoever.
The integration of sustainable materials has been a priority, and the recently-launched Eco-Screen is proof of this. The fabric is made from 100% recycled yarn which can be used for front and back-lit displays with no reduction in quality – with two plastic bottles recycled for every 1m2 produced. When a graphic update is required, the original can be returned to Leach for onward recycling, and clients also don’t have to pay any extra for this more eco-friendly display.
The carbon footprint benefits are further maximised when the Eco-Screen is used on the new Leach Box, an ultra-bright illuminated display product using a flexible lightsheet as the LED backboard. This then allows the product to be rolled up and transported in a recycled tube, in the back of a car rather than larger vehicles – an additional step to reducing clients’ carbon footprint.
Currently, the team is working on ensuring the availability of a recyclable alternative to every single product across the Leach range and, where this is not possible, offering a PVC-free option instead – this cannot be recycled but instead will biodegrade, which is still a ‘healthier’ option for the planet.
These latest innovations are already being used widely across the retail sector – including in All Saints and Regatta stores – and we are still making a considerable effort to inform wider brands of the benefits of implementing this new technology. But, as opinions towards sustainability organically alter, we are naturally seeing a gradual uptake in these products right across the retail environment. It is not a hard sell, because we’ve developed these innovations without there being any commercial detriment to clients – while sadly, to date, eco products have typically come at a cost.
Recently shortlisted in the ‘Green Company of the Year’ category at the Print, Design & Marketing Awards 2019, Leach has called upon others across the retail sector to adjust their environmental mindsets too, amidst the mounting pressures for companies to do more to protect the planet.
We all need to do our bit – and innovation is the key!”
Leach is a large format, graphic display specialist, with a number of high street retail brands among its customer base. For more information please visit www.weareleach.com or call 01484 551200.
T: 01484 551200