A key part of being a responsible retailer is to minimise our environmental impacts. In the process of bringing our goods to market we need to be mindful of the potential impacts our business can have.
Once made, our products need to be transported, sold in stores offering a comfortable environment, including well lit displays, all of which is supported by our teams in our Head Offices.
In this pillar we focus specifically on energy, waste and transport. Our working groups in these areas liaise internally with Property, Purchasing and Logistics and with external consultants who assist us with tracking progress against our targets.
Our long-term commitments continue to be to:
- lower our energy consumption (and reduce CO2 emissions);
- identify waste streams and work to reduce these;
- reduce our consumption of other valuable resources such as water; and
- transport our products while reducing impact on the environment.
Since the launch of Fashion Footprint we have been committed to making improvements in all these areas. While our initiatives are moving into a more mature phase and outputs have become incremental rather than substantial, we have progressed all our targeted projects for this year.
For the sixth consecutive year we have managed to reduce our absolute CO2 emissions, bringing our total CO2 saved since 2008 to over 38,000 tonnes.
Along with our on-going projects, our long-term technology infrastructure will be key to driving greater achievements in this area. That’s why in March this year we announced a three-year £50 million programme of investment in new technology.
This programme of investment will support development of global inventory and warehouse systems, increase our speed-to-market capabilities and meet consumer demands across our worldwide network of stores.
Reflecting this global retail picture, we will develop a network of Distribution Centres (DCs) that will serve key markets and reduce the miles our product travels from factory to consumer.
Online shopping will also be enhanced, further tapping into the benefits of services such as ‘click and collect’, which are already having an impact on our carbon emissions.
We anticipate that our DCs will move to a paperless system where handheld devices will show what products to pick with greater accuracy and significant reductions in paper consumption.
Work is now well underway on our project to transform our central London Head Office, Colegrave House, into a state-of-the art, 21st century workplace.
Given that we have opted to refurbish our headquarters rather than move to a brand new location, this is arguably the biggest recycling project our business has ever undertaken. In this way we will maintain our heritage, while combining it with the creation of a best-in-class building from an environmental and energy-reduction perspective.
From an environmental perspective, there will be more natural light and upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning. An intelligent Building Management System (BMS) will maintain a constant temperature around 22 degrees Celsius with anticipated energy savings of 15-20%. New electrical systems will ensure energy consumption via computer screens, printers and lighting is minimised.
Meanwhile, a water management system will ensure constant hot water, on/off tap sensors and dual flush toilets.
Improved facilities will encourage our employees to be greener too with 120 bike racks, which will be complemented by showers.
We are still on track to achieve a rating of ‘very good’ from BREEAM, the world’s leading design and assessment tool for sustainable buildings. If achieved, this would be the highest accolade we could hope to secure for a building of this age.
Around 90% of the waste materials created as part of the project are being recycled, while all new materials have been sustainably sourced.