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Selfridges outlines ambitious new sustainability targets to ‘reinvent retail’

By Rachel Douglass

2 Sept 2022

Business

Image: Selfridges via Pexels

Luxury department store Selfridges has published its first annual ‘Project Earth’ report in which it has detailed a number of ambitious targets that it hopes will reinvent retail and steer its business towards a net-zero future.

Its publication comes two years after the retailer launched its sustainability strategy Project Earth which initially set out to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across the company by 2050. However, last year, Selfridges reevaluated its mission, instead stating that it wanted to achieve the goal ten years earlier.

As part of this move and as detailed in its report, the retailer said it will be transitioning from an experimentation phase to the implementation and acceleration of change through new commitments across three categories; Materials, Models and Mindsets.

In the report’s press release, Andrew Keith, Selfridges managing director, said: “In creating our store of tomorrow, we must commit to a fundamental shift in the way that we do business and use the Selfridges platform for change. Our vision is to reinvent retail and create a more sustainable future, and Project Earth and our new targets underpin this.

“We recognise that we need to challenge ourselves to accelerate change and our ambitious circular and materials targets do just that. We don’t have all the answers, but we are committed to finding solutions, through a continued imaginative approach to retail innovation.

“The scale of our ambitions cannot be underestimated but we are inspired by what lies ahead and how we bring this to life for our customers.”

Circular transactions and inclusive environments

For its first category, Materials, Selfridges is looking to meet its goal of ensuring that the nine most environmentally impactful materials would come from certified, sustainable sources by 2025. Adding to this, the retailer also said it wants 50 percent of its polyester to come from certified sources by 2025 as well as its nylon, for which it wants to achieve its goal for 2027. By 2030, Selfridges stated that it plans to ensure everything it builds, buys and sells will meet its environmental and ethical standards.

Its Models category referred to circular retail strategies adopted by the business, including its Reselfridges platform, which it said has seen an increase in pre-loved sales by 240 percent. Ultimately, the retailer has pledged that 45 percent of its transactions will come from circular products and services by 2030, as it continues to focus on investing in alternative shopping models through the Reselfridges initiative.

For Mindsets, Selfridges is looking towards the implementation of a 12-week creative scheme that hopes to encourage its shoppers to purchase more consciously. As part of its commitments, the retailer said it is aiming to build an inclusive retail culture, putting people and the planet at the forefront of decision making by 2030.

Additionally, it added it will make sure the decision making process itself is also inclusive by ensuring that 50 percent of its director roles are held by women, the gender pay gap is closed and 16 percent of its senior leadership team is made up of ethnic minorities – all of which it hopes to achieve by 2025.

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