Debenhams sets new sustainability targets for the 2020s

  • Debenhams sets new sustainability targets as part of new programme
  • The new targets are built on the progress it has made in the last year
  • In 2019, Debenhams reduced the packaging it uses by 22 %

By guest author Sahar Nazir from Retail Gazette

Caption courtesy by Retail Gazette

Debenhams has unveiled its new sustainability programme to highlight new benchmarks for UK department store retailing in the 2020s.

The department store chain said its new targets are built on the progress it has made in the last year.

Last year, Debenhams reduced the packaging it uses by 22 %, sourced over two million garments made from sustainable cotton and reduced the number of clothes hangers sent from its stores into landfill to zero.

The retailer said its new commitments include sustainably sourcing 100 % of its cotton by 2022, all own-brand product sold in store will have at least one sustainable attribute by September 2020, and all lamination to be removed from swing tickets by December 2020.

The chain also wants an operational takeback scheme to be rolled out to every store this spring to recycle old stock and samples in partnership with the charity NewLife, which supports disabled and terminally ill children and their families.

Debenhams has tasked its sourcing, supply chain teams and manufacturing partners with pursuing more sustainable options across all its processes in order to achieve its targets.

“As a senior leadership team, we are committed to examining everything we do with a more sustainable focus. There is still a lot for us to do but we made real progress in 2019,” Debenhams’ director of stores for technology & supply chain Angela Morrison said.

“Reducing the amount of packaging we use by 22 % is the equivalent of powering 79 British homes for a whole year. Additionally, we have sourced over 2 million garments in sustainable cotton since joining the Better Cotton Initiative in August.

“And our standardised clothes hangers now use black plastic made of 98 % recycled material, so we can recycle and reuse them in a closed loop. As a result, Debenhams has reduced CO2 emissions from this product by 40 % and now sends zero waste to landfill.”

Debenhams managing director of fashion, home & beauty Steven Cook said: “In 2019, consumers spent increasing amounts on well-being and experiences and their focus on ethical and sustainable retailing is rising.

“These trends look set to continue in 2020 – fortunately department stores are well placed to cater for them. Our goal is that every product we sell should have at least one sustainable attribute.”