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Who is doing what and making an impact

The single biggest issue of our generation has to be climate change and the impact that our actions are having on the future of our planet, and what we leave behind for future generations. To be honest we have made a right mess of things and action needs to be taken swiftly and with purpose.

While some companies are doing everything they can to tell customers they care about the environment, some are genuine and others are simply greenwashing.

In a recent article I read digging into who was just “spinning” climate credentials Coca-Cola vowed to cut down 25% of its greenhouse-gas emissions between 2025 and 2030, but was also ranked the world’s top plastic polluter in 2021 for the fourth year in a row by the NGO Break Free from Plastic.

They also reported that Amazon donated $1 million to One Tree Planted, but reportedly emitted 60.64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and was also found to have been drastically undercounting those numbers, per the Centre for Investigative Reporting’s publication Reveal.

The following contains dumps of information (yes simply cut and paste) from articles, reports and releases on companies around the world working towards making a significant impact on the planet for the better.


Source: Inside Retail

Fast Retailing, the company behind the brand Uniqlo, one of the largest fashion retailers in the world, is on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations by 90 percent over 2019 levels. In the raw materials, fabric, and garment production it will target a 20 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, Fast Retailing continues to strengthen its transparency and traceability to raw material level across the whole supply chain. They continue to strengthen their human rights policies with their partnership with the Fair Labour Association (FLA) to pursue a living wage for workers in our supply chain. Additionally, Fast Retailing monitors working environments and confirms Code of Conduct (CoC) compliance status, established in 2004. The also work to solve global social issues, working with respected NPOs and industry groups, including UN Women and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

In December 2021, Fast Retailing reimagined its LifeWear concept, committing to a strong vision and action plan that will see its products evolve into a new type of circular industry. These many sustainability initiatives, along with Uniqlo’s more classic fashion offerings should become the more popular alternate to other non-sustainable fast fashion models.

From a pure customer experience standpoint, Fast Fashion’s Uniqlo brand and their on-trend retail outlets are a treat to shop. They take visual merchandising to a Utopian level, while tipping their hat to the popular culture icons of our time.

Source: The Robin Report, 2022


Ikea Australia has launched an online platform allowing customers to browse and reserve second-life Ikea furniture and homeware products.

A new ‘As-Is Online’ section on the Ikea website lets customers access discontinued items, used showroom display items as well as pre-loved goods returned through the business’ Buy Back service.

Once reserved online, customers can make the purchase by visiting their selected store’s As-Is area, located near the checkout area.

According to research carried out by the retailer, 22 per cent of Australians buy second-hand goods all or most of the time with 21 per cent stating they completely avoid buying anything new.

Lachlan Mitchell, Ikea Australia’s product recovery leader, said: “Our new As-Is Online platform gives our customers an easy way to shop more sustainably and find the perfect home furnishing products to make their life at home better.”

Mitchell says customers can get 20 to 75 per cent off the original selling price by buying ‘As Is’. The company earlier said the return and reuse strategy would help it meet its goal of becoming a circular business by 2030. 

Source: Inside Retail, July 2022


Another brand making headlines for its sustainability stance is Patagonia, but in this instance it’s a strong threat to the wholesalers of the clothing brand, rather than an initiative to consumers – although they were certainly listening.

Patagonia are already a well-established player in the sustainability sector and are now set to axe all discounts for Australian wholesale partners, including the likes of THE ICONIC, Macpac & General Pants, if they don’t show strong steps to reducing their carbon footprint.

The move is aimed to encourage (and scare) other retailers to take climate change seriously with Patagonia in the driving seat to make the change a reality. The consequences could be severe for their wholesale partners if they don’t take serious measures to reduce their footprint as they often receive discounts, sometimes up to 50%, when buying products direct from manufacturers.

Patagonia will reward wholesale partners who take steps to reduce their carbon footprint or make donations to grass-roots environmental groups, with even bigger discounts up for grabs for any company that achieves carbon neutrality, becomes registered as B Corp, or signs on for the 1% for the Planet Pledge.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald and Retail Oasis, April 2022


Back in 2019, a new initiative by a small company has compelled more than two dozen of the world’s biggest brands to begin testing reusable packaging.

Loop, launched in 2019 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has amassed a blue-chip roster of companies, all of which are piloted a new system of high-quality packaging that can be returned and refilled again and again. In essence, it changes the ownership model of packaging from consumer to producer.

It was off the back of extensive work by TerraCycle, the Trenton, New Jersey-based company that made a name for itself by turning hard-to-recycle waste (think juice boxes, coffee capsules, plastic gloves and cigarette filters) into new products. Along the way, the company, founded in 2001, has partnered with major consumer brands, retailers, manufacturers, municipalities and small businesses in more than 20 countries.

Loop is the natural progression of that model, as well as the corporate relationships TerraCycle developed over the years. Its Loop partners include Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Mondelēz, Danone and a dozen or so smaller brands. European retailer Carrefour, logistics company UPS and resource management company Suez are also engaged in the system.

"The key thesis statement is we can't just recycle our way out of the garbage crisis," Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s CEO and co-founder, explained to me recently. "We need foundational changes. Our version of the foundational change is: How do we solve for disposability at the root cause, while matching the benefits?"

Simply put, Loop brings back the old "milkman model," where products are delivered to customers at the same time empties are picked up, washed, refilled and restocked for delivery to another customer. The customer gets the product but the company owns the package. The reality is somewhat more complex.

Loop started initially as an e-commerce play. Consumers can order goods from the Loop website or that of a partner and have them delivered like traditional products ordered online. But there’s a twist: Customers pay a small deposit for a package that has been designed for 100 or more use-cycles. When the container is empty, customers place it in a specially designed tote for pickup or, in some cases, can bring it to a retailer. They can choose whether they want that product replenished; if not, their deposit is returned or credited to their account. The empties are sent to a facility where they are washed and refilled.

The entire process is handled by TerraCycle, from sale and delivery to package return and cleaning. In effect, TerraCycle is the online retailer, buying wholesale and selling retail. The package remains the property of the brand. Loop has now expanded to include brick-and-mortar retailers — Carrefour and Tesco in Europe have signed on and expect to introduce Loop products in their stores later this year; a U.S. retail partner hasn’t yet been named. In that in-store version, consumers can bring empties back in a QR-embedded container provided by Loop.

Woolworths will launch as Loop’s exclusive retail partner in Australia in early 2022, offering Loop products in select stores in the greater Sydney area.

Customers will be able to shop a selection of favourite products from leading brands, redesigned in reusable packaging that is collected, cleaned, and refilled after each use. Empty containers are returned in-store at participating Woolworths locations, creating a fully closed-loop circular packaging system.

Sources: Loop, Inside FMCG and Woolworths Australia, April 2022


& Other Stories/Sellpy

H&M owned retailer & Other Stories is also following the second-hand trend and has launched a shop within a shop for the Swedish market. Pre-owned pieces from the fashion retailer will be available on their website and the store will be run by Sellpy. The pilot hopes to find new homes for its much-loved designs and prove that it isn’t just luxury items that are wanted for resale

Source: Inside Retail, 2021


Behind Ecostore’s journey to B-Corp certification

New Zealand sustainability leader Ecostore recently celebrated achieving B Corporation certification for its Australasian operations, after years of demonstrating its core values of social wealth creation and environmental responsibility.

In this video, Ecostore Group CEO Pablo Kraus talks B Corp certification, international expansion and merging art with business.

Source: Inside Retail, 2021


Ritchies Supa IGA has collaborated with zero-waste company Unpackaged Eco to debut automated refill stations. 

In an effort to reduce plastic waste and save customers’ money on packaging, the refill station features non-toxic, biodegradable Australian made products from cleansing and personal care products to dishwashing liquid. 

Customers can bring their own containers or buy reusable glass or aluminium bottles at the refill counter. In addition, the supermarket will offer a lower price for shoppers who bring their own boxes or bottles. 

Source: Inside Retail, March 2022

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