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2021 Public Policy Document Released: “Retail Works for All of Us”

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) delivered its 2021 Retail Public Policy Agenda to lawmakers this week outlining the retail industry’s priorities for the year. As a major voice for leading retailers in Washington, RILA’s focus will be on ensuring policy makers understand the impact proposals will have on retailers and how those policies reach millions of jobs, families, and communities.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson

“Retail is more than a store—we are at the heart of every American community. The retail industry supports over 52 million hard working Americans, and our 2021 Retail Public Policy Agenda offers ideas and policy recommendations to defeat COVID-19, jumpstart economic growth, support our workforce, and protect the customers and communities we serve,” said RILA Senior Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Michael Hanson. “As the Biden Administration and new Congress gets to work tackling the tremendous challenges ahead, RILA will advocate for policy outcomes that empower retailers to continue to lead in their communities.”

The 5 Pillars of the Agenda

Building Communities. Leading retailers are at the heart of every community in America providing consumers with essential goods and services, stable jobs, and a legacy of volunteerism and supporting local charities. However, challenges emerge that place substantial financial burdens on retailers.

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Ensuring a Safe, Sustainable Future. Customers look for products and companies that adhere to their values, from individual privacy and product safety to inclusivity and environmental sustainability. Anticipating these expectations and their associated opportunities and risks is now critical to retailers’ success.

Investing in People. Leading retailers are building a 21st century retail workforce that is diverse, innovative, and skilled. Federal workforce laws are woefully outdated but antiquated policy ideas are unlikely the solution.

Leading in the Community. As Americans simultaneously struggled with the global health pandemic and social unrest, retailers showed up as true leaders in communities large and small. Retailers understand that their voice is needed in complex policy conversations that impact the health and safety of our communities, and that as an industry, we are uniquely positioned to affect real change.

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Supporting Free Markets and Innovation. This past year supply chains and retailers have been tested as countries around the world dealt with the devastating impacts of the coronavirus. Innovation was imperative, and retailers responded by launching new contactless ways to shop in record speed. These challenges and opportunities highlight why it is critical for public policy to support retail.

Austen Jensen
Austen Jensen

“Retailers support building a 21st century workforce that embraces flexibility and diversity, trade policies that allow for efficient and reliable supply chains, criminal justice reforms that erase bias and builds trust, creating a competitive market, building a modern infrastructure, ensuring consumer data is secure, and protecting consumers from counterfeit and stolen goods increasingly found on third party marketplaces,” said RILA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Austen Jensen. “There are tremendous opportunities ahead where federal public policy achievements can make enormous impacts on all Americans. Leading retailers are eager to play a pivotal role in these policy debates.”

The agenda was developed with input from top retail government affairs executives, as well as RILA’s board of directors. The full 2021 Retail Public Policy Agenda can be accessed here.

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