John Lewis Partnership announces new environmental strategy

Eco commitments: John Lewis Partnership ramps up environmental strategy by setting new ambitious targets

Department store chain operator and Waitrose parent company, the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), has this week announced new ambitious environmental strategy targets.

Releasing details of its comprehensive plan for nature, the partnership said all industries need to change the way they operate – and fast – if global heating is to be kept to the recommended 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial age levels, which is what scientists say can help the planet avoid climate catastrophies such as significant sea level rises.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates global greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025, and be reduced by 43% by 2030 to stave off such a scenario.

Investing in nature restoration across its supply chain is the most impactful way JLP can make a difference in this battle, according to the retail group.

The headline commitments as part of the updated environmental strategy are, as follows. JLP says it will:

  1. Through a new partnership with environmental charity WWF, invest £2 million to fund ecosystem protection and regeneration projects in the UK and India
  2. Commit to zero deforestation in the sourcing of key commodities across Essential Waitrose and John Lewis Anyday own-brand product supply chains
  3. Ensure all key raw materials in its own-brand products come from more sustainable or recycled sources by 2025
  4. Fund sustainable water management programmes in three key fresh-produce sourcing areas
  5. Incorporate natural elements and design principles into all key new build and renovation projects, including ‘Build to Rent’ projects that the partnership is involved in
  6. Reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural processes on its farm at Leckford to reach net zero by 2024. This will be combined with encouraging species regeneration on the estate
  7. Develop more rental, resale, and return opportunities, with an ambition to offer more sustainable ownership options for consumers across key areas including fashion, home, and technology.

Marija Rompani, director of ethics & sustainability at JLP, who spoke to journalists at an event in central London on Tuesday night, as the new environmental strategy was officially launched, said: “We all know that we can’t exist without nature, it is essential for our survival and it will play a vital role in solving the problem of climate change.

“We can’t solve one without the other, the crises of nature loss and climate change are inextricably linked. And yet, the UK currently languishes in the bottom 10% of global countries for its abundance of nature. That’s unacceptable and given the tiny window in which we have to get this right, delaying action is simply not an option.”

She added: “This is why we’re going back to our roots and focusing our efforts on protecting and restoring nature. Whether it’s eliminating fossil fuel use across our transport operations, investing millions in conservation projects in regions where we source our products, or helping our farmers make the transition to net zero, we are acting where we can make the biggest impact.”

[Image credit: Green Retail World]

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