Highlighting retailers’ efforts to be greener. Featuring announcements about products, strategies, and new eco-commitments from Oak Furnitureland, Boots, Dunelm, and others.
February 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 January. Below are some examples of greener retailing we’ve seen this month:
28 February 2022: Morrisons supports Podback coffee pod recycling scheme
Morrisons customers can now pick up free Podback Collect+ recycling bags from the retailer’s customer service desks across its UK stores.
The bags will find ultimately be available in the grocer’s shops nationwide, as early as next month, according to the supermarket chain.
Podback bags can be filled with used coffee pods at home, then taken to one of 6,500 Collect+ delivered by Yodel drop off points around the UK. The scheme was launched to offer an alternative to used coffee pods being thrown straight in the waste destined for landfill.
Morrisons said Podback’s recycling bags for kerbside collections are not available in its stores. Consumers in areas which offer kerbside collections must order bags via the Podback website.
25 February 2022: H&M-Stemettes partnership has sustainability focus
On 26-27 March, H&M and social enterprise Stemettes will co-host a virtual hackathon focused on the theme of sustainability in the fashion industry.
Those signing up for the event will be put in teams to design a product or business solution with the aim of creating sustainable impact within the fashion industry.
Marketing the event, Stemettes said teams might want to create an app that demonstrates how much water is used each time one buys a new garment or find improvements to current production processes to make them greener or more sustainable. Alternative ideas are very much encouraged.
The event specifically targets an audience of young women and non-binary people aged 15-19, and is part of H&M’s efforts to raise the profile of science, technology, engineering and maths careers for this underrepresented group.
23 February 2022: Starbucks pilots new returnable cup scheme
Starbucks has started a returnable cup pilot programme in Geneva, Switzerland and Canary Wharf in London.
Customers can opt for a reusable container at the till in the same way they would a single use cup, and put down a £1 deposit when ordering, which will be fully refunded when the cup is returned.
Returned cups will then be professionally cleaned and sanitised before further reuse. All customers opting for a returnable cup will also receive Starbucks usual 25p reusable discount.
The scheme draws on learnings from Starbucks’ previous UK reusable cup pilot at Gatwick Airport. Ultimately, the goal is to have a reusable solution in all 4,000+ Starbucks stores in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) by 2025.
Duncan Moir, president of Starbucks EMEA said it was an example of the company “breaking down barriers preventing greater reusable uptake and putting convenience front and centre to enable customers to easily transition away from single use and make reusability the only option, long-term”.
21 February 2022: Hertz leads Series A investment in electric car rental sevrice UFODRIVE
Rental car company Hertz has announced it has led the $19 million Series A investment round in UFODRIVE, a self-service electric vehicle rental company and e-mobility service provider.
The move is part of – in the company’s words – Hertz’s commitment to lead the future of mobility.
In a statement announcing the funding round, which was co-led by Certares, in partnership with Knighthead Capital Management, and included participation from existing investors, Hertz said UFODRIVE’s “advanced e-mobility software as a service platform makes transitioning to electric easy for both customers and fleet providers”.
16 February 2022: Swappie announced $124m funding boost
Online platform Swappie, which enables people to buy and sell their old iPhones, has announced $124 million in Series C funding.
Led by Verdane and supported by existing investors, this takes the business’s total funding to over $171 million, following a Series B round in June in 2020.
Swappie said the funding will be used to scale its work across 15 existing markets in Europe, particularly in Germany and Italy, almost double its 1,200 headcount, and – in its words – “bring the circular smartphone economy to the masses”.
15 February 2022: PrettyLittleThing to launch recommerce marketplace app
Boohoo Group-owned PrettyLittleThing (PLT) is planning to launch a Depop-style marketplace app later in 2022, enabling shoppers to resell pre-worn clothing from any brand.
The online retailer has faced significant criticism in the past for being part of a throwaway fashion culture, whereby consumers pay low prices for goods, wear them a limited number of times before discarding these items.
PLT UK & European creative director, Molly-Mae Hague, told Retail Gazette: “It’s not going to be just PLT pieces – you can sell pretty much anything on there, which is obviously encouraging sustainability hugely.
“It’s encouraging girls to think ‘this is actually in really great condition I don’t need to chuck it away why not encourage someone else to buy it’.”
14 February 2022: Hobbs eyes continued supply chain management improvements with Segura
Womenswear brand Hobbs has said it is working with tech company Segura to continue improving its supply chain management processes, and mapping supplier base beyond tier two throughout this year.
Commenting on the importance of ethical business practices throughout the supply chain, Justin Hampshire, group managing director at Hobbs parent company TFG Brands London, said: “We take our responsibilities seriously; when we champion higher standards and practices, we can have a real impact on the lives of millions of people across our value chain.”
Francesca Mangano, head of corporate social responsibility & sustainability at TFG Brands (London), added: “We understand it’s the nature of supply chains to be continuously evolving, but it’s crucial to us to ensure we partner with suppliers who share our values.
“Our aim for 2022 is to focus on continuing to map our supply base beyond our second tier and the Segura platform will allow us to do this.”
Earlier this year, River Island announced it is working with Segura to improve its supply chain management practices.
11 February 2022: New brand identity for Guylian includes sustainability ambition
Chocolate brand Guylian is updating its brand, which includes a new recipe, fresh packaging and an upgraded sustainably message.
“By changing our design and brand, we also want to introduce a broader target group to the unrivalled taste of our premium Belgian chocolate,” explained Tom Snick, CEO of Guylian.
“The packaging will have a more contemporary and fresh design, while retaining the luxurious look.”
On sustainability, Guylian has committed to working with 100% Fairtrade cocoa and it said all new packaging has been designed to be fully recyclable. The brand indicated it will continue to look at ways of further reducing its use of paper and plastic, and it claimed its production site in Sint-Niklaas has been “fully climate neutral” since the turn of the year, meaning CO2 emissions have been reduced to the lowest possible level and all other emissions are offset.
Additionally, palm oil and soya are no longer used in the production process.
“We want to set the tone for all chocolate brands with these developments” noted Snick.
“Guylian consciously chooses a pioneering role by going completely for sustainability in terms of raw materials, packaging, CO2 emissions and Fairtrade.”
10 February 2022: Aldi maps out logistics emissions reduction plan
At the beginning of 2022, the Aldi South Group – which is the section of the grocery business responsible for UK operations – joined the Smart Freight Centre’s Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC).
Aldi said this week that after its store operations, transport logistics represents the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and that it has joined the GLEC to work with other businesses to help find ways to decarbonise freight.
Over the coming months, Aldi’s international supply chain management department will be investigating what opportunities are available, with an initial focus on projects related to data visibility and data sharing within supply chains.
Roland Lechner, managing director for international supply chain management at the Aldi South Group, said: “ALDI is serious about reducing its global carbon footprint and becoming the first grocery retailer to join GLEC is one of the ways we can support the entire logistics industry in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
“We want to work with other committed partner organisations to do our part to help the global logistics sector remove one billion tonnes of carbon by 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2050.”
9 February 2022: Dunelm eyeing more take-back schemes
Homeware and furniture retailer Dunelm is looking to add more take-back schemes to help consumers responsibly dispose of their unwanted items.
Its range of recycling services includes a textiles, quilts and pillows take-back scheme, which was introduced across its store estate in December 2021, but the business is working with a selection of partners to develop take-back services for other homewares and bulky items.
7 February 2022: The Body Shop and Rituals part of new B Corp Beauty Coalition
A collection of beauty B Corp organisations, including The Body Shop and Rituals, have formed a coalition to improve social and environmental practices within the beauty industry.
The B Corp Beauty Coalition, which also exists to raise public awareness of connecting beauty with responsibility, contains over 30 members across four continents.
The coalition’s mission is: to enable collaboration and exchange between companies; identify and share better practices; implement improvement actions and publish their outcomes; help beauty customers more easily navigate the category; and to influence the beauty industry to trigger broader changes which can ultimately improve its social and environmental footprint.
Davide Bollati, president of Davines and a founding member of the B Corp Beauty Coalition, said “As Certified B Corporations meeting the highest standards of social and environmental impact, we have become increasingly uncomfortable with the social and environmental footprint of the beauty industry and concluded our respective solo efforts to enable positive change can be enhanced through a partnership of mutual commitment.
“So, we have decided to form a coalition to leverage our combined strengths and deliver tangible benefits to beauty customers, communities, and the planet we share.”
4 February 2022: Oak Furnitureland announces reforestation and furniture rehoming initiatives
Oak Furnitureland has announced several sustainability-focused moves as it targets becoming a more environmentally responsible retailer.
A new reforestation partnership with One Tree Planted is expected to result in 100,000 trees planted on behalf of the furniture retailer across the globe by the end of 2022.
Partnerships with Clearabee and the British Heart Foundation have also been established to provide the retailer’s customers with furniture removal options to reduce the amount of used products sent to landfill once they have decided to replace it.
Oak Furnitureland has also signed up the British Retail Consortium’s Climate Action Roadmap, committing to net zero emissions by 2040, and it has plans for its 75 showrooms to be fuelled by 100% renewable energy by the end of 2022. It said that it is already 90% towards achieving that latter target.
1 February 2022: Boots doubles rewards for recycling
Boots is offering double the loyalty points to consumers using the Scan2Recycle service in its stores.
Instead of £2.50 Boots Advantage Card points for every five items of beauty product packaging returned, the figure will be 500 points worth £5. The offer runs up until the end of March.
It means consumers can get £5 off their shop if they spend £10 or more.
The so-called ‘Recycle at Boots’ scheme experienced its biggest ever week in January, with over 22,000 items scanned through the system in the second week of January alone.
Natalie Gourlay, interim head of corporate social responsibility, said: “When we launched the Recycle at Boots scheme in 2020, there was nothing else like it on the high street and we wanted to incentivise customers and make it easier for them to recycle products that can’t traditionally be recycled at home.
“We are continually looking at how we manage our own ‘Bootprint’ as part of the way we operate our business, whilst actively seeking ways to make it easier for customers to be agents of change. We are delighted to see so many customers kicking off the new year with new sustainable habits and we are committed to helping them to continue to make ethical choices throughout 2022.”
Boots said the daily average of items banked between 10-16 January was 3,258 compared to 1,613 in the seven days before Christmas Day.
[Image credit: Green Retail World]