Consumers are demanding more from their favorite retailers, and one of their most pressing concerns is sustainability. Younger generations, especially, are keen to shop eco-friendly: according to a 2018 Nielsen study, 75% of millennials say they will “definitely or probably” change their consumption habits to reduce impact on the environment.
While there’s still much progress to be made, this year has seen some major steps taken towards a sustainable future for retail. Check out a few highlights of 2019:
Goodbye to single-use plastics…
The European Parliament voted to ban single-use plastics back in May, and retailers are also cutting down on their consumption of harmful and polluting plastics. Some, including Unilever, have pledged to halve their packaging, while others, such as Tesco, are trialing in-store plastic recycling services.
… and hello to sustainable materials
Inditex announced in July that Zara collections will be made from 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025, with other brands to follow suit. Gap revealed plans to source all of its cotton sustainably by the same year, while in August Google pledged to use only recycled materials in all Made By Google products by 2022.
Fashion meets the G7
In August, more than 30 major fashion retailers and brands including Gucci, Nike and H&M joined world leaders at the G7 Summit in Biarritz to sign a pact pledging support to tackle climate change. The agreement focuses on three pillars – Climate, Biodiversity, and Oceans – and aims to be adopted by 20% of the fashion industry.
Taking the circular approach
Retailers are now thinking end-to-end across their product lifecycles and supply chains. This summer saw Ralph Lauren, for example, announce its Design the Change sustainability pledge, promising to train its teams on sustainable, circular, inclusive and culturally-aware design by 2020.
What’s next? With just over a decade to prevent irreversible effects of climate change, 2020 is predicted to see many more retailers and brands adopt or amp up their sustainability initiatives. At RBEWC, we’ll bring together the entire industry to showcase solutions and discuss how retail can do more for the environment, and faster.
Make sure you’re part of it! Join us from 12-14 May 2020 and add your voice to the next stage of the retail revolution.