The Farinetti family will open a five-floor shopping centre focused entirely on sustainably minded brands in Turin this month. The complex, Green Pea (pictured), is modelled on the family’s internationally successful global supermarket chain Eataly. It’s a bold move and one that is a little counterintuitive in its timing: many department stores and large high-street retailers are struggling.
Green Pea has raised more than €50m ahead of opening. The shops inside the mall – operating under a concession model – will sell everything from fashion and furniture to electric cars. And the building itself was designed to be easy on the environment: it will be powered in part by geothermal wells and solar panels.
Yet perhaps most interestingly (and surprisingly), the company has announced that Green Pea won’t sell online: there will be a website, sure, but you won’t be able to buy anything from it. Given the prevailing narrative that online retail is essential, this is a courageous decision but it speaks convincingly to the project’s green credentials: deliveries and returns are notoriously bad for emissions. And given how much people have rethought their relationship to nature and consumption this year, is it really such a crazy idea?