NRF joins forces with RLA

‘Sustainability-focused’ M&A: NRF acquires Reverse Logistics Association

The National Retail Federation (NRF) – the US trade body for the retail industry – has acquired the Atlanta-based Reverse Logistics Association (RLA).

According to the NRF, the move is part of its efforts to support more sustainable practices across the industry. The fee and terms of the deal were undisclosed.

It is an unusual move for a retail trade body to acquire another one, but it highlights the retail industry’s growing focus on developing more circular models of operating in the name of environmental welfare.

NRF president & CEO, Matthew Shay, said: “NRF has a long history of convening supply chain professionals to collaborate and develop resources that improve the retail industry.

“Retailers understand the importance of sustainability practices and the environmental, economic, social and consumer benefits that accompany them.”

He added:  “As consumer demand for sustainable offerings continues to increase, RLA’s reverse logistics expertise will help our members to close the loop and accelerate the emergence of the circular economy.”

NRF’s definition of the circular economy is ensuring useful products, materials and resources are reused or recycled. It acknowledged hundreds of retail brands already offer “gently used” or “pre-loved” products to their customers, while plenty of others sell excess inventory at a discount.

However, working more closely with the reverse logistics industry, which manages the collecting, sorting, repairing and refurbishing of products for resale or recycling, it is expected more opportunities to drive circular behaviour will emerge.

RLA executive director, Tony Sciarrotta, commented: “NRF recognises reverse logistics as the backbone of the circular economy and understands how it plays a vital role in broader sustainability initiatives for the retail industry.

“Through this partnership, RLA will continue to reach industries investing in the circular economy and enhance NRF’s long-term commitment to retail’s supply chain and sustainability efforts.”

The NRF said it will continue to engage with retailers and other sustainability stakeholders to deliver insights on innovations and sustainability practices within the retail industry, as well as facilitate collaboration across the sector.

Read about the British Retail Consortium’s sustainability work on Green Retail World

[Image credit: Green Retail World]

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