Highlighting retailers’ efforts to be greener. Featuring announcements about products, strategies, and new eco-commitments from Tesco, Yoox Net-a-Porter, Decathlon, and many more.
October 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 September. Below are some examples of greener retailing we’ve seen this month:
29 October 2021: Danone on hunt for head of sustainability & social innovation
Food company Danone is searching for a head of sustainability & social innovation, to cover incumbent Hannah Cornick’s maternity leave.
It’s a 12-month fixed-term contract, starting in January 2022, and the chosen candidate will have a chance to be involved in a key role as the company revamps its sustainability strategy across the UK and Ireland.
28 October 2021: Watches of Switzerland adds name to BRC Climate Action Roadmap
Jewellery retail group Watches of Switzerland has announced its support for the British Retail Consortium’s Climate Action Roadmap.
The commitment is to collaborate with others in the retail industry, as well as across its global supply chains and with government to achieve the net zero carbon emissions target in the UK by 2040.
“Collaboration is a core theme of the COP26 – UN Climate Change Conference, which is set to take place in #Glasgow next week,” the retailer said in a statement on LinkedIn.
“It’s imperative countries, civil society and companies work together if we’re to accelerate and inspire urgent climate action and slow global warming.”
27 October 2021: Tesco launches second sustainability-linked bond
Tesco has launched its second sustainability-linked bond, which is associated with the retailer’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The sterling bond has a coupon of 1.875% and a seven-year maturity. This follows the issuance of Tesco’s first sustainability-linked bond in January 2021 and the establishment of a £2.5 billion revolving credit facility in October 2020, with interest linked to the achievement of three major environmental targets.
The bond is aligned to an agreed sustainability performance target of reducing Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 60% by 2025 against Tesco’s 2015 baseline.
Imran Nawaz, chief financial officer at Tesco, said: “We are proud to be making good progress on our journey to be net zero in our operations by 2035 and by linking our financial strategy to this target, this further cements our ambition.”
26 October 2021: Tesco and Faerch develop closed loop recycling solution
Tesco and packaging company Faerch have developed a “closed loop recycling solution” aimed at ensuring the secondary plastic packaging used to transport and hold products on Tesco shelves is retained by the food packaging industry and recycled back into new food contact primary packaging.
Until recently, PET shelf ready packaging – widely used by UK supermarkets to transport products – was used once and downcycled into non-food applications. Now, Tesco said a new “tray to tray initiative,” will mean the retailer’s secondary PET will be collected by Faerch and used to make new, food contact PET pots, tubs and trays.
Both companies have signed-up to a multiyear supply agreement.
William Guest, sustainable packaging manager at Tesco, commented: “Wherever we can, we remove or reduce packaging but where it is needed we want to improve circularity to make our packaging as sustainable as possible.
“One way we can do that is by ensuring packaging that meets food contact requirements remains within the food packaging sector, being recycled back into food contact packaging. This collaboration with Faerch will ensure that each year 2,000 tonnes of PET is recycled to make new Tesco packaging that otherwise would have been downcycled into non-food applications.”
Mark Tollman, group strategic sales director at Faerch, added: “This is a perfect example of how collaboration between packaging manufacturers, retailers and their suppliers can deliver lasting change and material circularity.
“The ‘Tray 2 Tray by Faerch’ project demonstrates that PET packaging can be recovered and recycled at an industrial level and made back into food grade pots and trays.”
25 October 2021: Chloe secures B Corp status
Luxury fashion brand Chloe has become the first retailer of its type to secure B Corp status.
Riccardo Bellini, CEO of Chloe, took to social media to mark the news, showing gratitude to the B Corp movement for “the amazing framework” it provides to support businesses in their transformation.
“Gratitude for the Chloé teams who worked hard to make it happen and who believed wholeheartedly in a vision of reinventing business to drive positive impact,” he wrote.
“Today we reinforce our commitment to continuously challenge ourselves to use our brand and our business as a force for good. Hopefully inspiring many others to follow.”
22 October 2021: Iceland to give short shelf life items away for free
UK grocery chain Iceland has said it will give food products on the last day of their shelf life away for free.
The items will be given to online customers in an effort to reduce waste. If the ordered product only has one day of shelf life, it will automatically be given away – the customer does not have to specifically make a request.
Dubbed ‘Free on Last Day of Life’, the initiative is UK-wide and follows a successful trial in 40 stores.
15 October 2021: Decathlon says it collected 10,000 pieces of litter in September
Decathlon UK, together with not-for-profit organisation Planet Patrol, hosted ten flagship World Clean Up Day events, in September – and the companies have reported that 10,000 pieces of litter were collected.
Green Retail World reported Decathlon’s plans last month, and through events such as stand-up paddle board litter picking, the retailer has deemed its consequent efforts a success.
Encouraged by Decathlon and Planet Patrol, hundreds of volunteers across communities in the UK took part in a combined activity of litter picking, equipped with a free litter picking kit and tracking each piece of litter removed on the Planet Patrol app.
Emma Woolley, Decathlon UK sustainability leader, said: “I took part in the Decathlon Sheffield World Clean Up Day event, and it was clear to see how passionate our customers and members of the general public are about sustainability.
“It was great to get out on the water, on our SUP boards and kayaks and take real action that will have a positive impact on the local community.”
She added: “We’ll continue to push ourselves to work even harder in our pursuit of sustainable solutions across all areas of our business. The launch of Second Life this year has allowed us to give 3,100 products a new home, saving over 250,000kg of CO2.”
14 October 2021: Wilko mask recycling scheme extended
General merchandise retailer Wilko has extended its in-store facemask recycling scheme, to the end of 2021.
The retailer estimates that by the end of the initiative it will have saved 400,000 masks from landfill, having started the initiative on 1 April.
11 October 2021: Mytheresa expands Vestiaire Collective partnership
Luxury fashion e-tailer Mytheresa has extended its second-hand retail partnership with resale platform, Vestiaire Collective.
From June this year Mytheresa has allowed its customers to donate pre-loved handbags for resale via Vestiaire, and now they can also donate ready-to-wear items and shoes.
8 October 2021: John Lewis Partnership planting trees to mark Queen’s platinum jubilee
The John Lewis Partnership (JLP), which comprises John Lewis department stores and grocery chain Waitrose, said this week it is to plant 70 trees at the organisation’s Leckford farm.
The move will mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, and support the launch of the Queen’s Green Canopy which aims to tackle climate change.
JLP also said it is helping to plant a hectare of managed woodland on 20 of its supplier farms.
7 October 2021: Fat Face partners with Thrift+
Fashion retailer Fat Face has become the latest industry player to partner with Thrift+ to offer consumers a way to pass on their unwanted clothes to others.
The Thrift+ tie-up also gives participants a chance to support a charity of their choice when donating, as well as receive a reward to spend on their next Fat Face purchase.
6 October 2021: Halfords instals e-scooter parking outside Redditch support centre
Bike and auto parts retailer Halfords has installed an e-scooter parking area outside its support centre in Redditch, to encourage staff to use more sustainable forms of transport.
The area has been created in partnership with micro electric vehicle company, Bird.
5 October 2021: Joules issues staff with reusable coffee cups
Clothing and accessories retailer Joules has issued all its staff with disposable coffee cups that have been made from recycled single-use coffee cups.
The move was made to mark this week’s ‘No Disposable Cup Day’, on Monday 4 October, which has been put in the calendar to encourage people to rely less on single-use packaging.
4 October 2021: Boohoo appoints sustainability expert to boar
Online fashion retailer Boohoo has appointed Kirsty Britz to its board as a non-executive director.
From today, Britz becomes a member of the audit and risk committees, and the new recruit brings expertise in several areas – particularly in environmental, social and governance matters.
Britz is currently director of sustainable banking at NatWest Group. She said: “I look forward to helping the group develop its sustainability approach, embedding it into strategy, governance and operations, and ensuring the board remains focused on building practices fit for a sustainable future.”
Boohoo is currently building in improvements and better transparency across its supply chain following allegations of labour malpractice, including through its Agenda for Change programme.
1 October 2021: Net-a-Porter to launch resale service with Reflaunt
Net-a-Porter (NaP), Mr Porter and The Outnet are set to launch resale pilots with tech company Reflaunt.
The resale service will launch first with NaP this autumn, with its Yoox Net-a-Porter stable mates adopting it in early 2022.
Consumers will be encouraged to send any well-preserved pre-loved designer items in their wardrobes to a new home via the resale platform. Suitable products for resale include jewellery, ready-to-wear items, bags, and shoes, with participating customers able to gain ‘store’ credit in return for their donation.
An additional 10% credit incentive or direct bank transfer will be provided to consumers once their item has been sold on via Reflaunt, as the luxury retail group aims to become more circular in its thinking.
The service will first be available in the UK, followed by the US, Germany and Hong Kong.