Smart Energy GB launch ‘The Green Aisle’, a first-of-its-kind shopping destination at Homebase, which showcases energy efficient and eco-friendly home improvement products, and information on the benefits of getting a smart meter installed, to help consumers go-greener

November 2020

Highlighting retailers’ efforts to be greener. Featuring announcements about products, strategies, and new eco-commitments from Kering, Joules, Iceland and others…


November news in brief

Running a business leaves a carbon footprint, so any sustainability claims must always be taken with a pinch of salt.

But that’s not to say organisations cannot be greener – and improve their environmental credentials. Indeed, every week we’re hearing of new commercial initiatives that purport to be better for the planet.

Green Retail World’s aim is to highlight when retailers and brands are doing things better and greener – and there are plenty of examples out there. Their inclusion on these pages is not to say they are a sustainable or green business per se.

Each month, this section of the site provides a rolling ticker of industry announcements, initiatives, and manoeuvres related to the green agenda. There will be quick snippets listed on these pages, highlighting what this publication believes are examples of retailers taking a step in the right direction to help reduce their impact on the planet.

Below are some examples of greener retailing we’ve seen this month:


30 November 2020: Ikea delays furniture ‘Buy Back’ scheme due to Covid-19 lockdown

Furniture and homeware retailer Ikea’s ‘Buy Back’ scheme, announced earlier this year, was due to go live at the weekend to coincide with Black Friday, but the coronavirus lockdown has delayed its introduction.

An Ikea spokesperson said: “Ikea remains committed to making sustainable living more simple and accessible, working towards its goal of becoming a fully circular and climate positive business by 2030.

“Due to the current lockdown and the temporary closure of our stores, the launch of Buy Back – an initiative that will see Ikea buy back unwanted Ikea furniture from customers – is postponed until early 2021. Throughout the pandemic, our primary focus has been the safety of our customers and co-workers and the delay in its launch allows stores to focus on a safe and comfortable re-opening once restrictions have lifted.”


27 November 2020: Joules and L’Occitane planting trees in return for Black Friday sales

For today only (Black Friday), clothing retailer Joules has promised to plant a tree for every transaction it processes.

Joules said it will contribute £1.25 from each online order or in-store transaction to the Woodland Trust. The company already contributes the same amount to the charity everytime an item in its dedicated ‘woodland collection’ is sold, as part of a campaign running from 1 October to the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, over the Black Friday weekend, every time cosmetics brand L’Occitane sells a hand cream, it plans to donate £1 to a tree planting collaboration run by PUR Projet and the Woodland Trust.

Read about more ‘Green Friday’, not Black Friday, initiatives on Green Retail World


26 November 2020: Iceland Foods’ charitable arm plants one million mangrove trees

Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF) – the charitable arm of frozen food retailer Iceland – has teamed up with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant one million mangrove trees in Indonesia.

IFCF donated $165,000 to facilitate the reforestation project to coincide with the supermarket’s 50th birthday, which it celebrates this week.

The initiative funded the reforestation project of approximately 100 hectares of Mangrove forest located on the south-west coast of Yapan Island in remote West Papua, Indonesia.

Eden, which initiated the reforestation project in Indonesia in 2018, provides training and financial support to the local community to collect mangrove propagules and strategically plant millions of trees in coastal mangrove systems that have been heavily degraded or deforested.

Richard Walker, trustee of the IFCF and managing director of Iceland, commented: “Iceland is passionate about playing its part in helping to stop global deforestation, and seeing the impact of deforestation in Indonesia first hand prompted us to make our palm oil removal commitment back in 2018.”

He added: “The project will have a positive social and economic impact on the local community for years to come. These mangrove forests are so vital and help support an environment that has a high concentration of rare and endangered species.”

Check out the story about Iceland’s commitment to reporting its ‘plastic footprint’.


25 November 2020: New students start at IFM-Kering fashion sustainability course

The first students have enrolled at a new sustainability in fashion course run by the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM)-Kering Chair, which was created last year to develop a research and teaching centre for the fashion sector.

The initiative focuses on all aspects of the sustainability agenda from traceability to measurement, as well as ‘eco-friendly’ new business models, and the students involved are working towards a certificate in fashion sustainability.

Supported by Kering experts, the curriculum has been designed to provide Masters-level students with what they need to know to advance the green agenda in the luxury and fashion sector.

Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer & head of international institutional affairs at Kering, noted: “I wish the new students the best of luck.

“I believe that there is nothing more important than providing the framework to educate and inspire the next generation to not only understand the complexities of our world today, but to navigate the future sustainably.”


24 November 2020: Ella’s Kitchen’s climate change pledge and pouch recycling scheme

Children’s food brand Ella’s Kitchen took to Twitter to announce a new eco initiative. Earlier this month, it tweeted: “We are super excited to officially launch The Kids Food Pouch Recycling Scheme in collaboration with Danone and TerraCycle UK.

“You can now recycle ANY brand of baby food pouch + kids yoghurt pouches at the same collection point.”

Consumers looking to dispose of their baby food or yoghurt pouches and caps responsibly can look up their nearest drop-off point online, and take the packaging there. Those behind the scheme are looking for “likeminded, sustainability-driven brands” to join the Kids Food Pouch Recycling Programme.

Ella’s Kitchen also announced its ‘Big Pledge to Little People’, partnering with conservation charities, Trees for Life and World Land Trust, as part of a wide range of eco commitments. It is also one of a host of brands talking up ‘Green Friday’ instead of Black Friday.


23 November 2020: Farfetch Second Life spreads its wings

Luxury fashion retailer and tech company, Farfetch, has launched its ‘Second Life’ concept in the US, and unveiled a new website for the European Union (EU) market.

Farfetch Second Life aims to help the company’s customers extend the life of the pieces they buy, and earn credit to spend at Farfetch by selling their pre-loved bags on via the platform. The service, which for now is focused on bags, is available in the UK, US, all EU countries, and Norway.


17 November 2020: Yeo Valley dubs nature-themed marketing drive a success

Yeo Valley has talked positively about a nature-themed marketing drive it rolled out earlier in the year, at a time many people were spending more time in their homes due to coronavirus restrictions.

Brand activation agency Zeal Creative launched two direct mail campaigns for Yeo Valley Organic, in August 2020, distributing wildflower seeds, brand information and summer activity ideas for families to one million people.

As part of the campaigns, ‘Get Back to Nature’ activity boxes were delivered to 15,000 families with young children, helping encourage them to connect with the outside world and consider the eco benefits of planting wildflowers.

Kate Sharrock, Yeo Valley Organic brand manager, said: “We had to completely reinvent our activation plans for 2020 and focus on reaching consumers at home.

“It was still important for us to connect with new consumers and communicate what our brand stands for. Distributing wildflower seeds meant households could contribute to our mission of supporting Britain’s bees, which play an integral role in food production.”

She added “The team at Zeal developed an innovative concept to help us to drive sales in challenging conditions but also reach young families and give them something fun to combat boredom during the summer holidays.”


16 November 2020: Sainsbury’s moving away from paper receipts with online orders

Grocer Sainsbury’s is removing the paperwork it attaches to online orders, and is switching to digital receipts.

The retailer said it is part of the organisation’s commitment to be a carbon neutral business by 2040.


9 November 2020: Fat Face brings back ‘mindful wrapping’

Although its stores are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Fat Face has announced its “mindful wrapping” will be back for the festive season in 2020.

Large paper bags distributed to customers with their purchases in store can be reused as wrapping paper, medium carriers can be turned into two crackers, and small bags are designed to be made into paper chains once they have served their initial purpose.

Fat Face said they are coming soon in our stores across Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the US, before appearing in stores in England and Republic of Ireland for the month of December.


4 November: Co-op removes plastic and glitter from Christmas celebration range

Co-op says it has cut out 1.1 million pieces (eight tonnes) of plastic thanks to a more eco-conscious approach to the 2020 festive season.

Plastic and glitter has been removed from all Co-op’s own-brand Christmas cards, gift wrap and bags and crackers – which launched in selected stores on 4 November.

The move is part of the retailer’s reduce single-use plastics within its operations and product ranges.

The convenience retailer has also switched the toys in its own brand crackers to fun games and gifts made from recyclable materials such as metal and paper. In addition, all Co-op’s Christmas cards, wrap, crackers and gift bags use metallic ink instead of glitter lamination and plastic lamination, and use minimal foil so they can be recycled.

Simon Robinson, non-food product developer at Co-op said: “This is a step in the right direction as we continue to further our sustainability commitments whilst still be able to bring a fun and elegant collection to our stores.”


6 October: Homebase introduces ‘Green Aisle’

Home improvement products retailer Homebase has created a ‘Green Aisle’ in five of its stores to showcase products deemed energy efficient.

The move is in collaboration with Smart Energy GB, a government-backed campaign to drive greater smart meter deployment in the UK, and runs until the end of October.

‘The Green Aisle’ can be found in Homebase stores in Haringey, Selly Oak (Birmingham), Edinburgh, Leeds Moor Allerton, and Bridge End, but a further 132 stores were given ‘Green Areas,’ which stocked a smaller range of products judged more sustainable.

Chris O’Boyle, trading director at Homebase, said: “The Green Aisle not only puts some of our most sustainable and eco-friendly products all in one place for those who know what they’re looking for, but will also provide advice and inspiration, supported by our expert teams, for people who need a hand turning their green ambitions into reality.”


30 September 2020: Ikea to remove non-rechargeable alkaline batteries from products

Furniture retailer Ikea said all non-rechargeable alkaline batteries will be removed from its global home furnishing ranges by October 2021.

The Sweden-based business said it wished to inspire consumers who need to frequently use batteries to make a switch to rechargeable batteries.

Emelie Knoester, business area manager at Ikea range & supply, remarked: “There are substantial savings to be made over time – on the environment as well as [consumers’] wallets.”

Ikea globally sold about 300 million alkaline batteries last year, according to Knoester.

[Image credit: Homebase and Smart Energy GB]

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