Retailers, resale platforms, and brands must ensure they conduct relevant quality checks when operating in the burgeoning second-hand or pre-loved market to allow them to set customer expectations on the condition of products, a new guide released today warns.
Trade body the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Voluntary Guideline on Second-hand & Preloved Items also recommends retailers operating in this space work with charity retailers, which it says are always on the hunt for good, clean stock to further their causes.
The guide has arrived as many retailers, including Mulberry, The North Face, and Uniqlo, have ramped up their efforts in the second-hand market in recent months. It also comes as Oxfam celebrates ‘Second-Hand September’, which encourages people to buy only second-hand items for the month. Mamas & Papas has rolled out a selection of second-hand pushchairs in six stores this month to support the event, with all proceeds from these sales going to Oxfam.
Retailers, resale platforms, charity retailers, and other industry experts came together to develop the comprehensive guide, which has the ambition to help the retail industry on its journey to playing a more prominent role in the circular economy. Among the organisations helping bring the guide to life were eBay, Ted Baker, Primark, Next, George at Asda, AllSaints, Dr Martens, Depop, Charity Retail Association, and British Heart Foundation.
Included in the publication are tips on how retailers can create a more circular models, allowing them to lengthen the lifecycle of the products consumers buy (see BRC graphic, below).
For clothing, footwear, homeware textiles, and other items, retailers are encouraged to promote resale markets and platforms, and use hire and rental subscription services, as well as introduce product swaps, upcycling, and repair schemes, rather than throwing away items.
Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said: “With more people looking for ways to shop sustainably, particularly as the cost-of-living rises, the sale of second-hand items in-store and online can encourage sustainable behaviours at affordable prices and take us one step further towards a circular economy.
“Retailers recognise the role they can play in helping their customers shop in more environmentally friendly ways, and we hope that this guideline will help many on their sustainability journey.”
Murray Lambell, General Manager of eBay UK, and a contributor to the guide, added: “To bring about the major change we need, we need to work together as a broader industry, which is why we’re so pleased to be helping set standards for the fashion industry to be more circular, and to back the BRC’s new Second-Hand Guideline.”
Dr Lisa Cameron, MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow, and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion, called the guide “practical and detailed”, adding it will support retailers, brands, and resell platforms to ensure thousands of products are kept in use for longer.
[Image credit: Green Retail World]