Highlighting retailers’ efforts to be greener. Featuring announcements about products, strategies, and new eco-commitments from Lidl, Decathlon, Asda, and many more.
July 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.
Here’s a list of good practice from June. Below are some examples of greener retailing we’ve seen this month:
30 July 2021: Lidl Belgium to introduce ‘Eco-scores’ on own-brand food labels
From 2 August, supermarket chain Lidl will apply an ‘Eco-score’ label to circa 100 food products stocked in its Belgian stores.
The label provides at-a-glance information about the environmental impact of a product. An independent method of calculating sustainability, the scores are based on the lifecycle of items and criteria such as certification, origin and packaging.
The label assigns products a code with a colour and a letter, ranging from dark green A (small impact) to red E (high impact).
Lidl said 171 of its stores in Europe adopt the Eco score. The aim of the initiative is to help consumers make more sustainable purchasing decisions.
29 July 2021: Yellow Octopus and InPost in new clothing return tie-up
Consumers can now register unwanted clothing via Yellow Octopus’s reGAIN app and drop off these items at any InPost locker in the UK – completely free of charge.
The reGAIN program enables unwanted clothes to be distributed to charities, textile recycling innovators, and various research initiatives across the UK – helping keep them in use or ensuring they can remade into other products.
InPost lockers can be found across the UK, often outside convenience retail stores, supermarkets or in high footfall shopping areas.
28 July 2021: Inditex, Lacoste, Primark, PVH Corp and Ralph Lauren become Ellen MacArthur Foundation network partners
Fashion brands and retailers Inditex, Lacoste, Primark, PVH Corp, and Ralph Lauren have joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation network as partners.
Inditex, Lacoste, Primark, PVH Corp have previously been core partners and participants of the foundation’s ‘Make Fashion Circular’ initiative, with Primark and PVH Corp brand, Tommy Hilfiger, also part of its Jeans Redesign project.
The foundation’s work on fashion started in 2017 and brought together leaders from across the fashion industry to work with cities, philanthropists, NGOs, and innovators to create a circular economy for clothes. It has established a vision for better performance in this space.
The foundation and its fashion partners, including strategic partner H&M Group, continues to strive to ensure garments and accessories have a longer life. Through their work they are encouraging products developed from safe and recycled or renewable inputs, while beating the drum for systemic change.
27 July 2021: Asda extends refillables range at flagship sustainability store
Asda has added more than 50 new product lines to its refill zone at its flagship sustainability store in Middleton, Leeds.
The grocer has partnered with consumer brands including Coca Cola, Yorkshire Tea, Napolina, Tilda, Mars and Kellogg’s to bring the new product lines to store in refillable format.
It is all part of the supermarket chain’s efforts to help customers reduce, reuse or recycle plastic packaging. Read more about the Asda Middleton store on Green Retail World.
26 July 2021: P&G, Durham University and Imperial College in sustainable products collab
Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble is working with Durham University and Imperial College to “accelerate the development of improved and sustainable products”.
The Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has named the collaboration as one of the UK government’s eight business-led ‘prosperity partnerships’, directing £5.6 million towards the project.
P&G, Durham University and Imperial College will look to develop new, breakthrough scientific tools revealing how to re-invent the performance of everyday products, such as laundry detergents and household cleaners, to address complex environmental challenges.
The aim of this toolset is to find more sustainable alternatives to current products and household tasks.
23 July 2021: Rent the Runway files for IPO
US fashion rental retailer Rent the Runway has filed to go public with the SEC in the US.
No official details about how much the company aims to raise via the IPO or the valuation of the organisation have been announced. Demand for fashion to rent is in high demand across the globe, as consumers continue to look for more sustainable alternatives to buying fast, throwaway fashion.
22 July 2021: Waitrose installing 800 electric charging points at 100 shops across UK
UK grocer said it will install 800 electric vehicle charging points at 100 of its shops by 2025, working alongside Shell.
22 July 2021: Decathlon tackles food waste with Too Good To Go tie-up
Sports equipment retailer Decathlon UK now has a presence on the Too Good To Go app, which aims to tackle the problem of food waste.
Consumers using the app can retrieve so-called ‘Magic Bags’ of unsold food from shops and restaurants so it doesn’t go to waste. Although not a dedicated food retailer, Decathlon sells various nutrition products – sports snacks and energy bars, for example – and these can now be picked up on Too Good To Go for a discounted price.
“Do something good for your body, your wallet, and most importantly, the planet,” Decathlon tweeted.
“Find the Too Good To Go app on Google Play or the App Store – let’s fight food waste together.”
21 July 2021: UK’s first carpet recycling plant under construction
The UK’s first dedicated carpet recycling facility is now under construction, at Northamptonshire’s Chelveston Renewable Energy Innovation Park.
Innovate Recycle was awarded a £2.35 million award from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ last year, and intends to put that money into the facility and help reduce waste across the carpet industry.
The site will run solely on the wind, solar and hydrogen renewable power produced at the park.
Joseph Eccleston, CEO of Innovate Recycle, said: “There is a need for change and the statistics are staggering.
“Around 500,000 tonnes of waste carpet are produced in the UK every year, over half of which goes to landfill. Most of the rest is incinerated to produce energy or shredded and used in equine arenas.”
He added: “It is a waste of the retrievable polypropylene, environmentally unsustainable and I’m determined to change it. The alternatives to landfill involve us continuing to burn fossil fuel or shredding the carpet into tiny plastic and fibre shreds which are all too easily spread across our landscape”.
Innovate Recycle said it will recycle and deconstruct polypropylene-based carpets at volume. This material will be converted into fibre and then into pellets, which will be sold on to a range of sectors including the automotive industry.
These pellets can also be used in the production of products including buckets, water butts and watering cans, 3D printing materials, battery cases, and storage bins.
Working closely with the UK’s carpet industry, Innovate Recycle will source and recycle waste carpets from across the south east midlands.
20 July 2021: The Cheeky Panda pursues London Stock Exchange listing
Bamboo-based hygiene products brand The Cheeky Panda is pursuing an IPO on the London Stock Exchange within the next two years.
The Cheeky Panda, which was founded in 2016 and sells products such as bamboo toilet tissue, baby wipes and natural straws in over 25 markets across Europe, the US, China and the Middle East, reported sales of £5.7 million in 2020. It is a crowdfunded business.
19 July 2021: Unilever to put carbon footprint labels on products
Fast moving consumer goods company Unilever plans to put carbon-footprint labels on its products later this year, helping consumers identify the greenhouse gas emissions of individual items.
The Independent reported the news as an exclusive, but there is no indication yet which products will be the first to have carbon-footprint labels attached to their packaging.
16 July 2021: Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre opens
A new £8.5 million centre, designed to promote innovation in waste, energy, and low carbon vehicle systems, has been officially opened at Tyseley Energy Park (TEP).
The Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre (BEIC), which will focus particularly on hydrogen and fuel cells, energy storage, magnet and battery recycling and converting waste to fuels and energy, was opened by former John Lewis boss Andy Street, who is now mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Street said: “Not only will this new energy innovation centre help us to tackle the climate emergency, but it also helps further cement the West Midlands as the home of the green industrial revolution.
“It is a great example of how the public sector, universities, and private sector businesses can all work together to create good-quality jobs and get us to net zero by 2041.”
15 July 2021: PVH Corp ramps up recruitment for sustainability-related roles
Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein parent PVH Corp has ramped up its recruitment activity for sustainability-focused job roles, according to analysis from GlobalData.
PVH’s active job postings have increased by over 400% since the second quarter of 2020, but sustainability-related jobs advertised rose from two in Q2 2020 to 26 in the first quarter of 2021.
Out of 96 total posted jobs in June 2021, 18 are related to sustainability, GlobalData found.
Srinivas Rahul, business fundamentals analyst at GlobalData, commented: “PVH envisions a future with end-to-end online shopping for sustainably produced clothing.
“The company’s ‘Fashion Forward’ strategy looks at making the business circular, reducing its carbon footprint and providing an inclusive and accessible brand experience to create equal opportunities for all.”
14 July 2021: Asda unveils liquid natural gas fuelling station for HGV fleet
Asda said it will introduce a liquid natural gas (LNG) fuelling station for its HGV fleet at its ambient depot in Normanton.
The site has circa 29 LNG fuelled-trucks supporting Asda Logistics Services in its goal towards reducing its carbon footprint which entails moving all trucks from diesel to gas-powered over the next three years.
Asda said all drivers have been trained on the safe use of the LNG trucks.
13 July 2021: Danone funds new vessel to clean up plastic in Britain’s waterways
A new vessel in the battle to clean up plastic pollution in Britain’s waterways has been unveiled.
Dubbed ‘Seacycler’, the boat is equally funded by Bunzl and Danone UK & Ireland and has been donated to education consultancy, Sustainable Hive. It will be used to take people on plastic fishing tours, in Bristol, led by environmental charity, Hubbub.
The tours aim to raise awareness of the growing levels of plastic pollution in Bristol’s waterways and to educate local schoolchildren and businesses about the impact of litter on the environment and the value of recycling plastic.
12 July 2021: Harrods designs available for rent on My Wardrobe HQ
UK consumers can now rent a fashion edit from Harrods designers through My Wardrobe HQ.
The luxury department store has joined several other clothing brands in ramping up its rental options, as companies look for more sustainable and circular business models.
The ‘Contemporary & Denim’ department on the fourth floor of Harrods’ Knightsbridge store is also housing a pop-up boutique for the My Wardrobe HQ collection.
9 July 2021: Sainsbury’s introduces fully electric refrigerated trailers to its delivery fleet
UK grocer Sainsbury’s has announced that the refrigeration within the trailers in its delivery fleet is now fully electric.
The retailer said the trailer aspect of the lorry is “100% electric”, claiming the fridges do not emit carbon emissions or particulate matter such as dust, dirt, soot or smoke into the air. The electric refrigeration also provides low noise emissions, it added.
The technology used in the trailers adds charge back into the battery by converting kinetic energy into electricity, keeping the onboard fridges cool and reducing energy consumption.
Patrick Dunne, director of property, procurement & cost transformation at Sainsbury’s, said: “Following a successful trial earlier this year, we are pleased to introduce this pioneering technology as part of our delivery fleet.
“As we look to the future we will continue to invest in testing and trialling to make our fleet more efficient and greener, creating energy at the same time.”
He added: “We will continue to introduce fully electric refrigerated trailers to the delivery fleet over the next 20 years based on Sainsbury’s and Argos’s energy infrastructure, helping us to plan for a better future.”
8 July 2021: Lush receives 120,000 pots and bottles in four months as part of ‘Bring it Back’ scheme
Cosmetics retailer Lush has said more than 120,000 pots and bottles have been returned to its shops in the UK and Ireland as part of its ‘Bring it Back’ packaging recycling scheme.
The initiative was only launched in March 2021, allowing consumers to bring back any full-sized Lush plastic packaging to their local Lush store to be recycled. For each plastic Lush item returned, customers receive a 50p deposit to spend on their shopping in store that day.
Lush said the returned packaging is sent to its UK recycling facility in Poole, dubbed the Greenhub, where it is processed and sent to our UK partners to be remoulded into new black Lush pots or used as industry feedstock material.
According to the retailer, Lush’s Greenhub will be transforming to what the company describes as a “circular hub” later in 2021. It will relocate to Fleets Corner’s newly redeveloped 40,128 sq ft warehouse which is over three times the size of Lush’s previous recycling hub location in Poole.
7 July 2021: H&M, Ikea, Kingfisher, Walmart launch new climate change initiative
Retail organisations H&M Group, Ingka Group (which owns and runs hundreds of Ikea stores), Kingfisher, and Walmart have teamed up to launch a new climate change initiative.
Dubbed the Race to Zero Breakthroughs: Retail Campaign, the programme is in partnership with the COP26 High Level Climate Action Champions and supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
The retailers have pledged their support to accelerate a movement in the retail industry to drive climate action, and encourage others in the sector to set out their plans to achieve 1.5 degree aligned carbon reduction targets.
Peter Bakker, president & CEO of the WBCSD, said: “This campaign is a call to retailers everywhere to take ambitious climate action as they increasingly recognise the risks posed by climate change across their supply chains and operations.
“We need more retailers to join the UNFCCC’s Race to Zero and showcase leadership and commitment, like H&M Group, Ingka Group (Ikea), Kingfisher and Walmart.”
Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group, added: “We are in the most important decade and it will require radical collaborations and actions from businesses, society and governments.
“If we work together and act with speed, focusing on what makes real impact, we can truly make a difference for people and the planet.”
6 July 2021: IGD partners with climate solutions group South Pole
Grocery training and research group IGD has partnered with climate solutions provider, South Pole, to create a new net zero guide for the industry it represents.
The Building Your Net Zero Roadmap – A Guide For Industry Leaders And Decision Makers is designed to help business leaders and decision-makers kick start their own net zero journeys.
IGD said the paper includes business cases for urgent action and a new framework for building a strategy, including how to make a start and build momentum.
Susan Barratt, CEO of IGD, said: “Having spoken with many leaders and decision-makers, from businesses of all sizes across our industry’s supply chain, we know there is a huge appetite to innovate and lead our industry’s transition to a net zero economy.
“We also know that for many businesses it’s not always clear where to start the journey. We hope you find this guide inspiring and helpful in driving action in your business and through your supply chain.”
Renat Heuberger, CEO of South Pole, said: “With a base of over 5,000 food and consumer goods companies, IGD and its members are well-positioned to lead a transformative change in the food and beverage industry.”
5 July 2021: AO supports County Durham electricals recycling scheme
Online electricals and phones retailer AO.com as partnered with Durham County Council for a new e-recycling initiative.
In association with several other organisations, including Valpak and County Durham Furniture Help Scheme, the local authority is allowing residents to drop off small electrical or battery-operated items at one of 17 collection points across the county.
AO’s role in the programme is to provide the prize for the monthly draw. Everyone who emails email@example.com when they recycle an item to inform the council what and where it is will be entered into the draw to win something new from AO.
Mark Wilkes, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change at Durham County Council, said: “Around 45% of UK households have up to five unused electrical items.
“The aim of this project is to get these devices out of people’s homes and recycled into something new. There are a number of collection points across the county to make it easy for residents to drop off their items, where they can be used as a resource to produce something new rather than disposed of as waste.”
2 July 2021: Aveda launches packaging take-back programme in UK
Beauty brand Aveda is encouraging consumers to bring back used product packaging, including pumps, pots and tubes, as part of a drive to reduce waste.
Items that can’t be recycled in household recycling bins can be taken back to one of the L’Oreal brand’s participating salons, and from there they will be collected by the company’s recycling partner. As many items will be recycled as possible, but Aveda said any remaining materials being converted from waste to energy.
Aveda promises customers using the service 200 Aveda Plus Rewards points per qualifying Aveda empty product returned.
1 July 2021: Benetton Group brings eco initiatives under one ‘Green B’ banner
Fashion retail group Benetton has announced it will run its environmental initiatives under one symbol, called ‘Green B’, which it said represents “the sustainable identity of Benetton Group and its people”.
Massimo Renon, CEO of Benetton Group, commented: “GREEN B unites Benetton’s different souls.
“Green is the colour of the logo that has made the brand famous all over the world. B is the initial of the last name of the brand’s founders and also refers to the verb ‘to be’ – because to be sustainable is part of our essence – as well as the bee, a small, industrious and collaborative insect, without which the entire ecosystem would be in crisis.”
The Green B symbol will be visible to customers in stores, on the digital platforms and on the tags of the garments that are linked to the retailer’s various sustainability initiatives around reducing waste, and improving energy efficiency, and supply chain operations.