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  • Samantha Steadman

Retail Revelations: Breaking Down the Latest in Sustainability!

In the fast-paced world of retail, every day brings forward new advancements, particularly in the scope of sustainability.  With new research completed by SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement[1] showing that 47% of UK customers are more loyal to a brand that has a sustainable returns process and for 20% of UK consumers, Sustainability is now THE most important consideration when making a purchase. Sustainability is no longer an afterthought, but more frequently a driving force behind consumer decisions and retailers are stepping up their game to meet these expectations – from eco-consicious product design to ambitious carbon reduction goals, the latest developments in sustainable retail are always a source of inspiration. Join us as we provide an overview of the most exciting sustainability news to emerge in the last few months and showcase the retailers contributing to the changes required to make a greener, more responsible future for all.

The Range Transforms Warehouse Rooftops Into Powerplants[2]

The fastest growing retailer in the UK with over 200 stores nationwide, The Range, has taken the step to transform it’s 4.2 million square feet of warehouse rooftops into solar energy powerplants. The move aims to slash the company’s energy bills, reduce their operational carbon footprint whilst also enabling them to connect with large energy buyers.

The transformation will generate energy beyond self-consumption with the surplus capacity used to supply other The Range sites nearby and large energy buyers too! Alex Simpkin, CEO at The Range said, “We’re on a journey to become a ‘Net Zero’ business. Our partnership with InRange is a real demonstration of our commitment and has really sped up our efforts meaning we can already see immediate benefits for both us as a business and as a positive impact on our local communities.”

The Handbag Clinic Opens In Selfridges London[3]

Leading innovator in luxury restoration and preowned fashion accessories, The Handbag clinic has partnered with Selfridges London to launch a permanent in store concession under their tagline of “Buy, Sell, Restore” enabling consumers to enjoy the luxury of designer items, more consciously.

The store will include a handpicked collection of fully authenticated, pre-owned luxury and vintage handbags, luggage and accessories from the world’s most coveted brands. Each bag is assessed and cleaned before going on sale to ensure buying pre-owned feels like brand new and in excellent condition. There is also the opportunity to trade in unwanted luxury handbags, regardless of where it was purchased in exchange for a Selfridge’s gift voucher.

The repair and restoration experts are trained in the most innovative techniques of cleaning and conditioning treatments and are also available to breathe new life into over-loved items, even with specialist brand specific items, such as the restoration of Louboutin shoes’ signature red soles.

The Handbag Clinic’s CEO and co-founder, Charlotte Staerck, said: “As world-leaders in luxury and service, we are excited to be partnering with Selfridges, who share our vision of encouraging more conscious buying and aftercare behaviours. They understand that true circularity begins with what we already have in our wardrobes. By trading these items in, luxury lovers can continue to get their newness fix whilst being kind to their wallets and the planet. We’re also deepening the aftercare offering, which will enable luxury investors to enjoy their purchases for longer and preserve their items for generations to come. We are so excited that this this will ultimately help to change how we view our wardrobes both financially and sustainably.”

Hobbycraft Using More Reusable, Recyclable and Packaging Free Products Than Ever[4]

The UK’s largest arts and crafts retailer are now using more reusable, recyclable and packaging free products in their Spring and Easter range than ever before. 50% of the range has been available in no packaging at all and over 300 Easter products being available to purchase in plastic free or reusable packaging.

The move marks another successful step towards achieving their sustainability targets detailed in their “Making A Difference” plan. By the end of 2024, Hobbycraft have set a goal of 25% of all products to be packaging free and to remove non-recyclable plastic from all products which require packaging. Currently, 43% of all products within the business now have plastic free packaging and 20% with no packaging at all, and now only biodegradable glitter available to purchase.

Heather Robbins, trading director at Hobbycraft, comments: “At Hobbycraft, we believe in the power of crafting and making something yourself, not only because it supports mental wellbeing and skill development, but also to reassure our customers they are crafting in the most sustainable way possible. Our Easter range is another amazing step in our sustainable sourcing journey, and we hope the collection inspires more of our customers to try out some personalised projects that can be enjoyed for years to come.”

GudYu Launch Sustainable Toothpaste Range[5]

GudYu, toothpaste brand established by British oral hygiene experts, have created the first range of zero waste and sustainably packaged toothpaste tablets. Toothpaste traditionally produces a lot of waste with the product itself, its packaging and water used during the use of the product. It is estimated that 300 million toothpaste tubes end up in landfill on a yearly basis, and an average of 16 litres of water used per 2 minutes of brushing!

Their newly developed toothpaste tablets, available in two formats for ages 3-8 years (with a softer buttermint flavour) and ages 6+, eliminate the need for water entirely and are also approved by PETA, meaning they are vegan friendly!

Dr Avinash Sachdev, founder of GudYu, commented: “Through three years of development and dental expertise we have created a product for a world where oral care meets innovation, GudYu toothpaste tablets are poised to revolutionise the way we brush our teeth. Our main goal was to reduce plastic usage without compromising dental health which is the case with other toothpaste tablets. We achieved this by precision dosing in every tablet, so that every tablet contains the perfect dosage of fluoride so that there is no over or under-use of the ingredient which can negatively impact children’s teeth in later life. It’s not just a toothpaste; it’s an eco-friendly, travel-friendly, and vegan companion, which gives your teeth a smoother and fresher feel than regular toothpaste. Bid farewell to wasteful tubes and hello to a brighter, cleaner future with toothpaste tablets.”

LUSH First Global Cosmetics Brand to Swap Plastic Bottles to Prevented Ocean Plastic[6]

LUSH are the first global cosmetics retailer to make the move to swap over 3 million plastic bottles to Prevented Ocean Plastic. As part of their “Leave the world lusher than we found it” mission, they plan to introduce the scheme globally.

The brand has been using 100% recycled PET for their clear bottles for more than decade and have now expanded on this by working with supplier Spectra Packaging to introduced certified recycled Prevented Ocean Plastic for their 100ml, 250ml and 500ml bottles. Their 1L bottles are still in transition across all markets but will be added later this year. Every time a customer takes home a product in a clear plastic bottle marked with the Prevented Ocean Plastic trademark, Lush says, “they’re helping to protect marine ecosystems and the coastal communities who are at the forefront of the effects of ocean plastic pollution.”

LUSH are known for leading the way when it comes to sustainability, with their Bring It Back recycling scheme where LUSH packaging is returned to be responsibly recycled, launching in 2021 and packaging free initiatives, including their shampoo bar and bath bombs. It’s great to see them continually expanding and advancing on these sustainability goals!

 Capri Sun Launch Recyclable Drinks Pouches[7]

Following their launch of stronger paper straws earlier this year, Capri-Sun are making the transition of their 200ml single serve pouches to new packaging made entirely out of mono material polypropylene (PP). The packaging has been assessed by non for profit company On-Pack Recycling Label as meeting requires for its front of store recycleable designation and each pack will feature the familiar OPRL label to guide and reassure consumers, and is the first drink pouch to be recognised as recyclable.

The move will feature a significantly lower carbon footprint than any other common beverage packaging, reducing CO2 emissions by a further 25% than their current pouch while maintaining the freshness of the ingredients without the need for artificial preservatives, flavours or colours.

From the second half of 2024, Capri will also introduce the packaging in its 330ml pouches with a new closable, tethered cap, saving 14% on packaging compared to previous cap, which consumers will be able to recycle at home. The brand aim to transition its entire drinks range in the UK to fully recyclable packaging by mid 2025.

In this rundown of the latest in sustainable retail practices and innovations, we can see the industry’s commitment to greener practices shine brighter than ever. Here’s to shopping with purpose in the knowledge that together, we’re making a difference and one things for sure : the momentum towards a more eco-conscious future shows no signs of slowing down!








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