On the 1st of October open seminar “Practices and challenges of retailers’ sustainability management and reporting” was held at Kaunas university of Technology (KTU) School of Economics and Business (SEB). Project “Drivers of Sustainability Management and Reporting in Retailing” partners from Lithuania. Latvia, Estonia and Germany presented preliminary research results – analysis of the interviews with representatives of retail chains in the Baltic States and Germany.
Lithuanian retail market is attractive both for already operating companies and foreign retailers looking for expansion opportunities in the Baltics. According to the Lithuanian Department of Statistics, retail sales of food, beverages and tobacco rose in the years 2014-2018 (by 5.6% in 2018).
Project participants did qualitative interviews with representatives of food retailing chains in the Baltic countries and Lithuania that take up a large part of the market in each country. Afterwards, preliminary analysis of the interview data was conducted.
It was noticed, that increasing attention has been paid to sustainable products: healthy products (bio, low in sugar, gluten free), circular products (environmentally friendly, grown by local farmers), emphasis was put on products to be discarded (plastic bags, straws). Sustainability is emphasized in business processes such as recycling, waste management, digitization, logistics and energy efficiency.
In the context of sustainable consumption, consumer behavior, responsibility and education were discussed. The role of social responsibility reports in the context of different countries was presented.
Even though most retail chains use non-financial metrics in the accounting information systems, they do not tend to communicate about the impact for environment in the form of systemic reports.
The open seminar was organized as one of the activities of the project “Drivers of Sustainability Management and Reporting in Retailing”. The aim of the project is to organize a series of events fostering German-Baltic cooperation in research of drivers of sustainability management and sustainability reporting in retailing companies.
Partners form KTU (Prof. Dr. Lina Dagilienė, Dr. Viktorija Varaniūtė, PhD student Sima Jasevičienė), University of Latvia (Dr. Ivita Faitusa), University of Tartu (prof. dr. Toomas Haldma, Dr. Kertu Lääts, PhD Katrin Lemsalu), Hochschule Hamm-Lippstadt (prof. dr. Judith M.Pütter, M. Sc. Anna Fornfeist, Hochschule Hamm-Lippstadt) and Audronė Alijošiūtė-Paulauskienė, representative of the non-governmental organization Baltic Environmental Forum (BEF) participated in the seminar and provided valuable insights on sustainable business in Lithuania.
Duration of the project: 01.04.2019 – 15.10.2019. Later it is planned to continue research on the topic, present results in a scientific conference and prepare a scientific paper; as well as present research results to society. The results in specific countries will be communicated to retailers.
This project of the Baltic-German University Liaison Office is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic Germany.