NRF Sustainability

NRF’s Commitment to Sustainability

The National Retail Federation has represented retail for over a century. We recognize that retailers have been making significant investments in their operations, products, buildings and services to help address climate concerns through improved energy efficiency and market-based incentives.

Aligned with these values, NRF supports our members in their journey toward a more sustainable future for retail. Just as our members consistently work to enact positive change, we too are committed to implementing more sustainable practices at Retail’s Big Show.

Retail’s Big Show has laid out five long-term, event-specific, sustainability objectives to serve as guiding pillars on our path to becoming the front-runner in sustainable events. We acknowledge there's substantial work ahead, but we're excited about the journey.

  1. Move toward a zero-waste event
  2. Advance stakeholder education and engagement
  3. Improve sustainable sourcing and procurement
  4. Increase accessibility, opportunity and well-being
  5. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

If you want to learn more about what NRF is doing to accelerate sustainability across the retail sector, visit:

How Retail’s Big Show will Make it Matter

NRF is dedicated to reducing our environmental impact and promoting sustainability throughout Retail’s Big Show.

  • Community impact: Through the JavitsCares program, exhibit materials such as furniture and household items will be diverted from the landfill and donated to local nonprofit organizations. Food rescue programs are in place to help the community fight food insecurity.
  • Scholarships & mentorship: The NRF Foundation, NRF's nonprofit 501(c)(3), connects people to the retail industry. NRF awards more than a half-million dollars in college scholarships each year, helping undergraduates erase debt and gain real-world experience. Our virtual and in-person programming includes hiring events and insights from industry experts that help the next generation of talent launch careers.
  • Vendor procurement & sustainability guides: We have implemented internal supply vetting systems for NRF 2024 and have provided exhibitors with best practices to reduce the environmental impact of the Expo.
  • Offsetting the show’s footprint: We are partnering with AQ Green to provide a carbon offset program that allows the community to offset travel to New York.
  • Plastic waste reduction: We will not offer or sell beverages in plastic bottles. Instead, individual beverages will be available in aluminum, glass or boxed containers.
  • Content: NRF 2024 offers Sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility focused sessions to build greater purpose in the world we operate in.

Building a Sustainable Event Together

Partnership plays a vital role in our sustainability success, and we rely on the support of attendees, exhibitors and key partners like the Javits Center, Freeman, Honeycomb Strategies and others to make the event more environmentally sustainable. Like all retailers, NRF is working with our suppliers to improve our own sustainability efforts, focusing on circularity and supply chain.


How The Javits Center Makes it Matter

You can find energy efficiencies throughout the Javits Center and on the roof where solar panels supply a microgrid with energy to provide 10% of the energy consumption from a renewable source. To further conserve energy, the lights and heat are turned down while NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show is not in the building and escalators slow down when not in use.

The Javits Center’s nearly seven-acre green roof can absorb up to seven million gallons of storm water run-off annually, while reducing heat gain throughout the building. Part of this green roof is a one-acre farm that produces up to 40,000 pounds of produce each year that is used in the Javits Center’s kitchens.

Javits Center

How Exhibitors Make it Matter

Create a lasting impact at Retail’s Big Show by participating in the NRF Exhibitor Sustainability Pledge. Small actions like waste reduction, water and energy conservation, and sustainable procurement can make a significant difference when embraced by all exhibitors. Consult with Freeman on your Expo orders — Freeman has its own commitment to net zero carbon by 2050, and to reduce GHG emissions by 50% this year. With both ISO 14001 and ISO 20121 certifications, Freeman is there to help guide you through sustainable offerings.

NRF has partnered with Freeman, the Javits Center and Honeycomb Strategies to offer a donation program that will serve the local community. See the JavitsCares Donation Program for more details.

Recycling sign

How Attendees Make it Matter

You won’t need to go out of your way to be sustainable at Retail’s Big Show. Learn about the easy ways you can make an individual impact on the show’s sustainability efforts.

  • Recycling made simple: Waste is sorted by landfill and recycling. Ensure that you are making it matter by using the correct bin when discarding items.
  • Reuse & reduce: Bring a reusable water bottle or coffee mug to reduce your waste and resources footprint.
  • Be energy smart: Remember to turn off lights when leaving your hotel room and participate in your hotel’s Linen Reuse Program, which will also conserve water.
  • Sustainability Lounge: Visit the Sustainability Lounge located on Expo Level 1 for sustainable food options and a comfortable place to sit and network.
  • Moderate consumption and eat mostly plant-based foods: Take only what you need at food functions and choose to eat vegetarian at least one meal per day. This will help reduce carbon emissions associated with food production.
  • Carbon emissions and offsets: Don’t forget to affordably offset your carbon from travel to and from NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show. Carbon credits purchased will be allocated toward community, renewable and nature-based programs.
  • Random Act of Kindness: Perform a Random Act of Kindness at NRF 2024: Retail's Big Show to help make the event a little better and brighter.

Take the NRF Attendee Sustainability Pledge by participating in 4 (or more!) of the above while you’re onsite at the event!


Sustainable Transportation

New York City is a very walkable city and most hotels in our official room block are within walking distance of the Javits Center. If walking or biking to your destination isn’t an option, hop on the NRF shuttle or check out the New York City public transportation system to get around the city.

The average passenger vehicle emits about 400 grams of CO2 per mile, which is about 4.6 metric tons of CO2 per year. It would take 76 tree seedlings grown for 10 years to sequester that much carbon. Plus, walking gets you fresh air and sunshine!

Pedestrians in city

Sustainability Sponsors


BrightDrop is a tech company revolutionizing commercial delivery and logistics. Its portfolio of electric delivery vehicles, smart eCarts, and software solutions are designed to create a smarter, safer, more sustainable future. BrightDrop is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors. For more information, visit Booth #6149


Hanshow’s abiding mission is to protect the health of our Earth. We're committed to pioneering digital innovation to transform retail sustainability. Our green store solutions are tailored to the specific needs of retailers to decrease paper usage, lower energy consumption, and reduce food and other waste. Booth #3365