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Environmental, Health, and Safety Insights from APTIM’s 2024 Retail Leadership Summit

Learn what 16 nationwide retailers had to say about the most pressing issues facing the industry, and join the conversation at our 2025 Retail Leadership Summit.

Amy Martinez, Senior Sales Director
APTIM | Environment & Energy Solutions
Amy Martinez has 19 years of experience providing regulatory compliance and permitting solutions to local governments and private sector clients, especially those in California. She is a Certified Hazardous Materials Management Professional, a certified Project Management Professional, and a TRUE Advisor with expertise in providing zero waste solutions for customers.


Environmental, Health, and Safety Insights from APTIM’s 2024 Retail Leadership Summit

Retail and logistics are driven by innovative products and seamless customer experiences, but diligent teams and systems are required behind the scenes to keep operations safe and compliant. APTIM’s Retail Leadership Summit was created as a unique space for camaraderie among decisionmakers in environmental, health, and safety (EHS) at leading retail companies.

This year, we gathered 16 nationwide retailers in Minneapolis for our second annual Summit. With APTIM’s 20+ years of experience in the retail market and support from our clients, we curated an agenda of the most pressing issues facing the industry, including up-and-coming regulatory trends and risks, effective program governance, and data management strategies. Below are the highlights from our main sessions.

Emerging Compliance Risks & Trends

From governance over corporate sustainability to the use of AI regulatory tracking tools, the responsibilities of traditional EHS compliance teams have expanded significantly in recent years. Leaders at the Summit advocated a proactive approach to regulatory compliance with conversations about how teams can prepare for emerging policies such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), extended producer responsibility, Cal/OSHA, climate disclosure, California organics, and Advanced Clean Fleet Regulations. With more rigorous enforcement and ambitious policies, the state of California is often an incubator for new risks and opportunities in EHS strategy.

Fire Safety & Storage Programs

Having robust emergency response protocol, fortified by strong communication among stakeholders, is critical for effective fire and life safety programs. With the retail sector’s dynamic product mix, fire suppressant infrastructure needs to be evaluated as inventory changes over time to mitigate risks to facilities and your workforce. Program managers should start in project design to ensure systems are designed to code and operational restrictions are communicated. Fire safety review should be included during construction, followed by robust and routine system inspection, maintenance, and testing.

RCRA Compliance Trends

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) dictates forward and reverse logistics through the management of hazardous waste. Retailers discussed the importance of clearly defining responsibilities among corporate compliance, store managers, and waste haulers to avoid and address notices of violation for hazardous waste shipments. Steps to prepare for PFAS compliance and adapt to impending policy changes were also deliberated.

Information Technology Tools

The session explored how to leverage systems for communication, data collection and integration, and dashboards/visualizations. Centralized, easy-to-access communication tools can be used for store managers to report, administer trainings, and learn about corporate safety initiatives. Unique strategies to inspire a safety-conscious culture included incentives and awards programs.

Lithium Battery DOT Compliance

Lithium batteries are a rising concern for retailers as electrification expands. Effective shipping and handling programs compliant with Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements—particularly for batteries over 300Wh—require collaboration between internal compliance and operations teams, as well as external parcel carrier teams.

Looking Forward to 2025

We are thankful to all the retailers for joining our 2024 Retail Leadership Summit, sharing their insights and experiences, and continuing conversations with other retail peers beyond the event.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to enhance your environmental, health, and safety compliance program or participating in next year’s Summit, please reach out to me at or Retail Client Relationship Director Steve Musser at

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