The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Washington, D.C., released a new report, “LEED in Motion: Retail,” showing the prevalence of LEED certification in retail spaces around the world. For example, LEED is used in more than 12,500 retail locations globally.

“Now, perhaps more than ever before, consumers demand transparency and responsibility from the brands they support,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO. “The retail sector is no exception, and many retailers recognize the importance of developing healthy, sustainable spaces that both delight their customers and support the larger community. LEED provides these businesses with a powerful tool to meet their commitments and to attract consumers.”

By leveraging LEED, retailers effectively communicate their values to consumers and employees, while also reducing energy costs and minimizing waste.

Research from the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Arlington County, Va., shows that 93% of global consumers expect the brands they use to support social and environmental issues. An estimated 68 million adult Americans base their purchases on their values—personal, social and environmental—and will spend up to 20% more on environmentally sound products. This clear preference for responsible business is pushing the retail sector to embrace policies and practices that express their dedication to sustainability and social equity.

In just the first quarter of 2019, the retail trade in the United States was responsible for $1.9 billion in gross output, amounting to 5% of total gross output across all sectors, according to a study released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, Suitland, Md. Likewise, retail supports one in four jobs in the United States, as outlined in this study by the National Retail Federation, Washington, D.C., making it the largest private-sector employer.