Retail Industry Group Eyes Sustainability With School Competition

The Retail Industry Leaders Association will team with McGill University to launch a competition that aims to introduce new ideas about sustainability to the conversation. The university is tying the competition with the launch of its new retail management school.

A major retail group wants to get the industry thinking harder about sustainability—and it’s launching a competition to do so.

This week, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced it would launch the (R)Tech Global Retail Challenge, which aims to engage students in solutions that could help boost sustainability in the retail sector. The organization is teaming with Montreal’s McGill University to organize the competition. It expects more than 90 universities globally to take part, which will take place over a six-week period this fall.

The competition will focus on ideas for the “circular economy”—essentially, the need for sustainability that moves beyond the traditional retail approach of making a good once, selling it, and allowing a consumer to discard it once it’s been consumed. Adam Siegel, RILA’s senior vice president of innovation, noted that the idea behind the contest is to help find new solutions to a challenging problem.

“We are confident this competition will open students to the opportunities within retail and foster meaningful solutions that can help shape the future of our industry and its contribution to the circular economy,” Siegel said in a news release.

The initiative, beyond highlighting a retail industry effort, is also something of a coming-out party for McGill’s Bensadoun School of Retail Management, which was only announced about a year ago.

The event will culminate in a finals event taking place at the university November 15-17, and on November 16, the Bensadoun School of Retail Management will formally launch.

The management school’s dean, Isabelle Bajeux, noted that sustainability was one of the “grand challenges” that the retail management school hoped to work on.

“Teams will be equipped to find innovative solutions that could lead to new entrepreneurial ventures,” Bajeux stated. “This competition will showcase the future of retail from the next generation of industry leaders.”

(Petmal/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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